The Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, has commended the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, for organizing a training to ensure compliance with the Public Procurement Act 2007 in its procurement activities.
The Acting Director-General of BPP, Engr. Ahmed Abdu, applauded the Commission yesterday at the end of a two-day public procurement training for management staff of the NDDC, held at the Sunview Hotel in Akure, Ondo State.
Engr. Abdu, who was represented by the BPP Director of Energy Infrastructure, Engr. Babatunde Kuye, noted that the high-level training would enable the NDDC directors to meet the challenges of the public procurement reforms. “It is not just a run of the mill training because it involves directors who are the last line of command in the procurement cycle,” he said.
Issues addressed by the BPP at the training included understanding the use of public procurement regulations and procurement procedural manual; standard bidding documents and requests for proposals; procurement methods; bid examination and evaluation; record keeping management and procurement audit, among others.
The BPP helmsman stressed the need for government agencies to use competitive tendering as the norm for all procurement proceedings and minimize recourse to selective tendering. He stated: “The procurement process can only be appreciated when considered holistically, from the beginning of the process to the end. By the time everyone is on board and they know exactly the provisions of the law, knowing what is acceptable and what is not, we are likely to have projects delivered in a way that the government will get the full value for money.”
“Procurement is organic. In effect, it keeps growing. The good thing is that the NDDC has demonstrated the willingness to do the right thing. In this wise, it is addressing the mistakes of the past, which is an encouraging sign.”
The BPP Acting Director-General acknowledged that errors could be made as it was difficult to achieve perfection, adding that once this was understood, there was bound to be progress. According to him, “we have identified the issues and they are being addressed. It is believed that going forward, there will be more compliance with the provisions of the Procurement Act.”
In her closing remarks, the NDDC Acting Managing Director, Mrs. Ibim Semenitari, said that the training was meant to help the directors learn and improve on their services. “It is a learning curve that will serve the NDDC well and reflect positively on our services to the people of the Niger Delta,” she stated.
Mrs. Semenitari said that the NDDC took its mandate seriously and had not relented in its commitment to delivering service to the people of the Niger Delta in line with the vision of President Muhammadu Buhari.
The NDDC boss said: “We are called to serve. The directors are the highest level of staff in the NDDC. Therefore, the onus is on them as members of management to appropriately direct the political appointees that come in as board members.”
“We are all called to a higher sense of duty. So, at all times, we should remember that the people of the Niger Delta and indeed, Nigerians rely on the directors. Tax payers also rely on you to ensure that they get value for money.”
Mrs. Semenitari reminded the directors that as public servants that draw their pay from public fund and as such, they had a duty to be responsible and accountable. “That is why trainings like this are crucial because they remind us that as public servants, we must be accountable,” she said.
The NDDC Director of Procurement, Mrs. Nyingi Numbere, affirmed that the two-day training would help the directors to ensure that due process was followed in all public procurement at the Commission, noting that due process was all about ensuring minimal cost, efficiency and transparency, especially in the bidding process.
She said: “This is one of the best trainings NDDC has organized in recent times. Now, we know how best to process all procurements and we have been acquainted with the correct reporting lines in dealing with the BPP. In the past, some directors write directly to the BPP without recourse to the chief accounting officer of the Commission. Now, we know better that such communication rests squarely with the chief executive officer.”