The Federal Government of Nigeria has selected six federal universities for the implementation of the Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement (SPESSE) Project for the production of experts in procurement, environmental and social standards in the country.
They are University of Lagos (UNILAG), University of Benin (UNIBEN), Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, (ATBU), Bauchi; Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria; Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM) and Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO).
The project, which is the first of its kind in Nigeria, is scheduled to be launched at the headquarters of the National Universities Commission (NUC) on October 28 in Abuja by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo.
About the project
According to a statement signed by an official of NUC and the project coordinator, Joshua Atah, SPESSE is a project with support from the World Bank that will be jointly implemented by NUC, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), federal ministries of finance, budget and national planning; environment and women affairs and social development.
“SPESSE is a multi-sectoral project, with support from the World Bank, which seeks to address training, professionalisation and research in procurement, environmental and social standards, through certification, undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate studies; to support governance, increase transparency, competition, equal opportunity, sustainability as well as environmental and social standard management in the public and private sectors,” the statement said.
It added that SPESSE aims to establish strategic partnerships with leading international research funding, research performing and international capacity building organisations and top performing institutions.
“By developing curricula aligned with international standards, setting up the Centres of Excellence and supplying qualified professionals, SPESSE will improve, significantly, Nigeria’s capacity for procurement, environmental and social standards. Structured training, based on well-defined curricula and advanced systems of monitoring graduates’ performance will improve transparency, integrity and management of the country’s procurement system and translate to more efficient use of public resources, reduction of procurement delays and improved contract management,” the statement added.
Speaking on the project and implementation, the executive secretary of NUC, Abubakar Rasheed, stated that the universities which will serve as centres for the project were selected through a very objective, competitive and rigorous process, adding that the project was designed with the full participation of the private sector, including the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, which he said represented the industry in the design of the curricula by NUC.
Mr Rasheed commended the management of the selected universities for the key roles they played in developing the winning proposals and urged them to continue to support the centres for the benefit of their institutions, the Nigerian university system (NUS) and the country in general.
The Project Task Team Leader at the World Bank, Bayo Awosemusi, also reportedly noted that the country will be the hub for Africa and that it would take the six selected universities to make that happen.
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