NDDC projects will continue to give value for money – Semenitari
The Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari has said the Commission will continue to insist on getting value for money on all its projects and programmes.
Mrs. Semenitari stated this yesterday at a two-day retreat for members of the management of the Commission in Akure, the Ondo State capital. The event was an in-house procurement training for the Commission’s directors by the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP.
In her opening remarks, Mrs. Semenitari said: “For us at the NDDC, we have a mandate to deliver service that gives full value for money. This is very necessary for the Commission to be in a strong position to drive development in the region in the overall interest of the people of the Niger Delta.”
The NDDC boss said that the Commission was a strategic organization not just because of its role in covering nine states of the Niger Delta, but because it was expected to execute projects and programmes that would positively impact the lives of the people of the region.
She said that the Commission must necessarily ensure that it delivered on its mandate at all times, adding that it had a duty to meet the aspirations of the people, despite the dwindling resources at its disposal.
Mrs. Semenitari said further: “It is important that we fully understand the procurement process to enable us ensure that tax-payers get their money’s worth. Again, following the proper procurement procedures will help us to apply available funds judiciously. But it is not always about the money that can be saved. We also have a duty to ensure that we maintain high quality in the delivery of projects in a timely and transparent manner.”
“All our state directors are involved in this training because, at the end of the day, they are the ones that will put the knowledge into use at their various stations. At the end of the training, we hope to be able to find answers to some of the peculiar challenges that face the Commission. This is because the NDDC is special in the way it was created and also in the functions that it has to carry out.”
The Acting Director-General of BPP, Engr. Ahmed Abdu, said that training on the processes of public procurement was very crucial for development agencies like the NDDC because of the enormous responsibilities they were saddled with.
Engr. Abdu, who was represented by the BPP Director of Energy Infrastructure, Engr. Babatunde Kuye, emphasized the need for government agencies and departments to imbibe the culture of proper public procurement. He said: “The BPP is keen to see that public procurement in the NDDC is done in the right way. We believe that when the NDDC and other key Federal Government agencies adopt this culture, it will go a long way to ensure that there is value for money in service delivery.”
He assured that the bureau would address some of the issues discovered in the NDDC procurement process. “We are aware that sometimes the intentions may be good, but then there must be institutional structures to enforce compliance to the laws governing procurement,” he said.
The BPP Acting Director-General said that the training of NDDC directors was a good opportunity to spell out the ground rules for the Commission. He added: “Aside from training, the other times we intervene would be either to monitor or audit the process being used by the Commission, which may not be as friendly as what we have in training sessions.”
“It is usually better when we get people to do things well, rather than tracking them to enforce compliance to the laws. Let’s ensure that whatever is done is done well.”
In his keynote paper entitled: “Understanding the public procurement process,” Engr. Abdu highlighted the core objectives of the BPP which included economic efficiency, competition - providing level playing ground for all strata of bidders and value for money.
The BPP Director-General stated: “The Public Procurement Act 2007 established the Bureau of Public Procurement as the regulatory authority responsible for the monitoring and oversight of public procurement, harmonizing the existing government policies and practices by regulating, setting standards and developing the legal framework and professional capacity for public procurement in Nigeria.