Public Procurement Act laced with corrupt practises, needs urgent review ― Lawan

The President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan has said the existing Public Procurement Act gives ample latitude for corrupt practises and was long over due for review.

He made the declaration on Monday when he received in audience the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha and Permanent Secretaries from the Presidency.

Senator Lawan said the Senate would engage itself in a holistic review of the Act in order to sanitise the entire process of contracts awards and executions.

He said: “The Public Procurement in Nigeria as far as I can see is not the best in the world. Public Procurement must be reviewed and amended, we must see how we can make it more practical and holistic within the shortest possible time.

“From the stage of bidding to mobilisation, the costing of any government contracts must be uniform in order to avoid imbalances and embarrassment in the processes.

“A situation where about twenty agencies of government buy the same brand of vehicles at grossly different prices is not good. Market prices must be determined and adhere strictly to, in ensuring that Nigerians are not shortchanged through abuse of processes or over-invoicing.

“Even the 15 per cent mobilisation fee specified in the Act by realities on the ground is more of demobilising contractors than mobilising them with attendant loopholes for fraudulent practices.”

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The President of the Senate said his leadership would ensure that members who have the required knowledge and experience of the entire process were placed in its standing committee on Public Procurement ahead of the review of the Act.

“Our Public Procurement committee will be a very strong committee this time around. The cost of projects in Nigeria is mostly the highest in the world. We cannot continue like this, not in the face of very scarce resources.

“So, we are going to insist that the Public procurement particularly is considered better than before. If there’s should be a purchase of buses by ten or twenty Ministries, the cost must be uniform so that we don’t drag into crisis on what we buy.

“The Procurement Committee when in place, will make sure we work towards achieving this set agenda in order to avoid putting the public at a disadvantaged position,” he explained.

The President of the Senate commended the SGF for consistently working towards cordiality between both arms of governments, submitting that the pathways of understanding among the tiers of government will ease developmental stride of the present administration.

Earlier, the SGF applauded the President of the Senate for starting on a vibrant mood.

Mustapha said the Nigerian project was of great importance to the present administration, urging members of the parliament to continue to strengthen the ties with other arms of government in order to achieve the set agenda of the Buhari’s administration in good time.

He equally charged the Senators to always put the nation first, promising that the executive arm was determined to ensure a warm relationship with the leadership of the National Assembly and its members.

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