Last Monday, the Lagos State Government held a stakeholders’ summit with contractors and suppliers on the need to ensure transparency and accountability in government’s procurement and projects. The aim is to prevent project abandonment and ensure transparency. Muritala Ayinla reports
The ultimate goal of procurement planning in any decent society is to coordinate an integrated action to fulfill a need for goods and services or work in a timely manner at a reasonable cost. Hence, early and accurate planning is essential to avoiding last minute, emergency or ill-planned procurement which is contrary to open, efficient and effective and consequently transparent procurement.
Nevertheless, to bring about transparency and accountability in the business of procurement and handling of government’s project, the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, last week held the first summit to sensitise the stakeholders on the current strides in public procurement. It was a gathering of highflying suppliers and contractors, as well as multi-billion projects consultants.
Speakers after speakers, all commended the Lagos State Government for enacting the procurement agency law to ensure transparency in the business of procurement and proper management of the state’s resources. Speaking at the summit which had in attendance, contractors, suppliers, business experts, financial gurus, academics, officials of the state ministries and department as well as other stakeholders, Governor Akinwunmi Ambode said that the fact that there is increasing wide gap between resources at the disposal of government and the needs of the people is a public knowledge.
He further stated that the burden of the government is to ensure judicious application of the limited resources in a way that the taxpaying public receive maximum values for all expenditure incurred by the government. With a theme: ‘Ensuring best Practices in the Public Procurement the face of dwindling economy’, the governor described it as apt. He believed that it speaks directly to the current economic situation of the nation and a need for those charged with responsibility of implementing the procurement law to be more diligent and conversant with the emerging development in the global arena.
Ambode added that the only way the state can achieve this is to ensure that all expenditures pass through the established due process as itemised in the public procurement Law, adding that the goal is to guide against mismanagement and diversion of public funds. He commended the board and management of the Lagos State Procurement Agency for the role it played in enduring prudent management of the state financial resources.
The governor, who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Mr Tunji Bello, also lauded the agency over the initiative which has already been in the pipeline since the inception of this administration. Ambode said: “I charged the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency to be steadfast and innovative in the application of the laws and regulations. As you are aware, this administration places high premium on accountability and will therefore not condone any act of misappropriation and misapplication of the public funds.”
The General Manager of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, Mr. Fatai Onafowote, said that the agency has approved over 1,000 procurement requests valued at N320billion in 2017, just at it has also registered 1,900 contractors desirous of doing business with the state. He added that the agency achieved enviable milestone in 2017 with the N320billion worth of 1,000 procurement requests, expressing optimism that the agency would surpass the record in 2018.
Onafowote vowed that the agency would intensify its monitoring on all projects to ensure that no government project is abandoned or failed to deliver at record time.
According to him, through the agency, the state government has been able to bring about transparency and eliminate the perceived corruption inherent in the public procurement through demonstration of professionalism and adoption of global best practice in the procurement.
“The Public procurement as a process involves the inputs of stakeholders; the Lagos State Government and its MDAs, the Public Procurement Agency, Contractors and Suppliers, Non-Governmental Organisation and the general public. The success of any procurement process will require the input of all stakeholders. Indeed, the process cannot be or deemed satisfactory unless there is input of all these stakeholders,” he explained.
He said that the aim of the summit was to create a lasting template for stakeholders’ cohesion in public procurement, adding that the e-procurement would bring the agency opportunity to have a deeper handshake with all relevant stakeholders such as contractors, consultants, NGOs, and the entire public.
The Commissioner for Finance, Mr Akinyemi Ashade, who is also the chairperson of the agency’s board, said the essence of the establishment is, “to strike a prudent balance between phased growth and scarce resources, public procurement is an indispensable tool adopted to ensure value for money,”Ashade said.
The state’s Head of Service, Mrs Folashade Adesoye, described the summit as another clear indication of the Ambode-led administration at ensuring performance with transparency, adding that the state would remain committed to maintaining probity and highest professional standard in discharging their duties.
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