By Peter Duru, Makurdi
Benue State Universal Basic Education Board, SUBEB, Wednesday opened the bid for the utilization of the N3.3billion 2020/2021 Uniserval Basic Education Commission, UBEC/Benue State Government Intervention funds for schools in the state.
Declaring the process open at the Benue SUBEB Headquarters in Makurdi, the Commissioner for Education, Dr. Saawuan Tarnongu said the occasion marked a turning point in state government’s efforts at providing infrastructure and other facilities in Public Primary and UBE Junior Secondary Schools in the state.
Dr. Tarnongu noted that the “process is aimed at promoting government’s determination to make our Public Primary and UBE Junior Secondary Schools more functional.
“Education as we all know is the engine room for the socio-economic development of any nation which cannot be toyed with. For this reason, our schools need essential learning facilities such as classroom structures, furniture, instructional materials, ICT equipment and many others; to enable our children acquire appropriate skills and knowledge to efficiently function in the society.
“Predicted on this background, Governor Samuel Ortom’s government since inception in 2015 has consistently put in efforts which have accounted for the transformation of basic education schools today.
“As highlighted by the SUBEB Chairman, the UBEC/Benue State Government have equally released the sum of N1.4billion as Matching Grant for the 2020 Intervention; while N1.9billion has been released by both UBEC and Benue State Government for the 2021 Intervention; making a total sum of N3.3billion for the counterpart funds of 2020/2021 Intervention for UBE projects.”
The Commissioner who cautioned the contractors who would emerge successfully in the bidding process to adhere strictly to laid down specifications in the execution of the contracts sounded that the government would not hesitate to deal decisively with any contractor that failed to execute the contract to a logical conclusion.
“It is important to note that, the successful implementation of the projects in Benue State will justify Government’s huge investment in the UBE programme and attract more opportunities to the state. At this point, I wish to commend UBEC for supporting projects for improvement of Basic Education in Benue State through prompt release of matching grant.
“I also appreciate UNICEF, GPE, World Bank and other critical stakeholders for their immense and continued support to the UBE programme in Benue State. I will not end my address without acknowledging the efforts of Benue SUBEB for organizing this forum to ensure a transparent process in the execution of projects.
“I assure you all that, the state government will continue to provide the necessary support for efficient basic education service delivery for the benefit of the Benue Child. As Basic Education Managers, I would like to charge officials of SUBEB to ensure constant monitoring of projects to make sure that the projects are executed according to specifications,” he said.
Earlier, the Executive Chairman of Benue SUBEB, Comrade Joseph Utse disclosed that at the end of the bid opening ceremony, only well qualified and competent companies would be awarded the various contracts.
According to him “a breakdown of the list of projects to be executed using the 2021/2022 intervention funds shows that, in the area of infrastructural development, a total of 46 Units of UBE Standard Blocks of 3 Classrooms each with office, store and VIP toilets are to be constructed, 46 classroom blocks will be renovated.
“Also 51 Boreholes will be sunk in different schools in the state. Assorted plastic furniture totaling 23,739 sets are to procured and distributed to schools where these infrastructures are lacking.
“And as part of the Board’s drive to entrench accountability, effectiveness and transparency in contract award procedures, we have followed due process according to the provisions of Public Procurement Act.
This implies that, the whole activity is carried out openly and transparently without favouritism and corruptible tendencies. I therefore wish to assure all bidders that, at the end of this exercise, only credible contractors whose bid documents will be publicly opened today would be selected and awarded contracts.
“All successful bidders would be expected to speedily execute their projects within 6 weeks and should endeavour to follow designs and specifications in carrying out their projects.”
The UBEC Coordinator for Benue State, Mr. Emmanuel Baba who said he had been monitoring the process and could attest that due process and diligence was observed cautioned successful contractors against poor quality job or delay in the contract execution.
On her part, the acting Director General, Benue State Public Procurement Commission, Mrs. Joy Sule who disclosed that the state government had adopted the Open Contracting Principles to check any form of corruption practices commended Benue SUBEB for ensuring transparency in the discharge of its responsibilities.