President Muhammadu Buhari will soon inaugurate the National Council on Public Procurement as required by the Public Procurement Act 2007, the presidency said Tuesday.
The presidency was reacting to a PREMIUM TIMES story which showed that the Buhari administration has toed the path of its predecessors by refusing to inaugurate the NCPP despite Mr. Buhari’s campaign promises to do so.
The body is required to handle all matters of government procurement, against the current practice whereby the Federal Executive Council awards contract.
The spokesperson to the president, Garba Shehu, in an email response to PREMIUM TIMES, said the government was planning to set up the council and the issue was discussed by the cabinet recently.
“I just read your story on Premium Times, lumping the Buhari Administration along with the others as violating the law by failing to inaugurate the the National Council on Procurement.
“It is true you have followed up with us on the issue for several weeks but it is equally true that your interest in the issue has given us the impetus to follow up relentlessly with our bosses.
“This issue came up at the last meeting of the Federal Executive Council, FEC, and a decision was taken that the Council be inaugurated as soon as possible,” he said.
Mr. Shehu said contrary to what obtained in previous governments, Mr. Buhari does not award contracts by himself.
“He does not meddle in the processes leading to award of contracts and does not forward a list of preferred bidders to Ministers as had been the practice in the past,” he said.
The Public Procurement Act, which was signed into law by late President Umaru Yar’Adua on June 4, 2007 provides for the establishment of the NCPP, and the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, as the regulatory authorities responsible for the monitoring and oversight of public procurement as well as harmonising existing government policies and practices.
The Act was put in place to allow transparency and ensure public participation in government procurement.
Mr. Yar’Adua, who signed the Act into Law, however, failed to inaugurate the NCPP until his death in office. His successor, Goodluck Jonathan, who stayed in office for six years also failed to inaugurate the council.
Mr. Buhari has till date also followed the same path in violating the law.
A former Minister of Education, Obiageli Ezekwesili, described the refusal of successive governments to inaugurate the council as “a reflection of the poor governance history of many African countries.”
Ms. Ezekwesili, pioneer head of the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration, said the refusal has to do with the, ”priority of those in government.”