THE participants at the two-day multi-stakeholders workxhop on Open Contracting in Nigeria have called on Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies to proactively publish their procurement records, data and other information on the NOCOPO platform to enable the country to realize objectives of the procurement reforms embarked upon by the Government.
In a communique issued after the meeting on Wednesday in Abuja said that such a practice would ensure its commitments on open contracting as contained in the first and second National Action Plans under the Open Government Partnership, OGP, are realised.
They urged the Secretary to the Government of the Federation to institute and appropriate apply sanctions on the Hundreds of Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies that have continued to violate or ignore the July 2018 circular directing all public institutions to regularly upload their procurement information and records on the NOCOPO platform.
They noted that the participants are able to improve their ability to use the NOCOPO platform effectively as a part of the Government’s efforts to promote and ensure transparency and public participation in the procurement process.
They also called on the Federal Government to urgently inaugurate the National Council on Public procurement, adding that the government’s failure to do so more than 12 years after the coming into force of the Public Procurement Act and in obvious violation of the provisions of the Law raises serious questions about the Government of Nigeria.
The participants in the public procurement processes stated that the media, civil society organizations, professional bodies and other stakeholders have a duty to monitor the economic development and that the inhibition of public services would turn out to be about the full realization of its objectives.
In addition, they called on the media to monitor compliance by relevant bodies, agencies and institutions with the duties, processes and requirements under the Public Procurement Act, while urging the media and civil society organizations to embark on vigorous public enlightenment and sensitization activities to mobilize public involvement in various aspects of procurement process in order to engender new culture of openness and citizen engagement in governance.
The participants had earlier observed that ttransparency was the bedrock of any public procurement system without transparency, there will be confidence or trust by stakeholders and the wider public in the system while procurement activities will be viewed with suspicion, which will undermine the system. They added that transparency is the most effective safeguard against corruption in public procurements.
They noted that despite the development of NOCOPO by the Bureau of Public, BPP, which is intended to open up public procurement in Nigeria through Increased disclosure of procurement information to all stakeholders with a view to ensuring improved transparency and accountability, improving competition, preventing corruption, enhancing active citizen participation, and achieving better service delivery and improving the ease of doing business, stakeholders are still faced with the challenge of accessing procurement records and information as well as public finance data that of value to them .
The proposed outcomes in the open contracting area commitment in Nigeria’s second National Action Plan, NAP, under the OGP are very ambitious and unlikely to be realized without significantly increased levels of engagement by various stakeholders. Act was enacted in 2007 and particularly since Nigeria joined the OGP in 2016.
They noted the low level of awareness about open contracting and the applicable principles in Nigeria while the open contracting discourse does not currently include key actors , such as women groups and youth organizations, who are relevant to its sustainability and the achievement of greater impacts.
The workshop addressed conceptual and practical issues relating to Open Contracting and Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS) as well as their application in Nigeria. NOCOPO, NOCOPO, to obtain procurement records, data and other information as well as how to analyze information in order to have a better appreciation of trends and anomalies in procurement processes. And, in order to monitor public procurement activities and processes, they could be effectively deployed to obtain procurement records and mitigate.
The workshop is part of activities being implemented under the project: “Strengthening Disclosure and Citizen Participation to Improve Value for Money in Public Contracting in Africa”.
It was organized by Media Rights Agenda with a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, managed by the Africa Freedom of Information Center, AFIC, in Uganda. Participants in public institutions, civil society organizations and the media as well as the Secretariat of the Open Government Partnership.
– Nov. 21, 2019 @ 18:09 GMT |