By Musa Adamu
Senate Committee on Public Procurement has expressed regrets over the shunning of its Public Hearing on Public Procurement Act (PPA) by the Service Chiefs, the Inspector General of Police, Attorney General of the Federation, Secretary to the Government of the Federation and others.
In a related development, the Director General of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mamman Ahmadu picked holes in some of the proposed amendments the Senate had brought up at the public hearing.
The Committee had on the strength of consolidated bills seeking for amendments of the Public Procurement Act 2007 and adopted by the Senate last week Tuesday, invited critical stakeholders in the public sector for a one day public hearing on series of amendments being sought.
But at the Public Hearing Tuesday, aside the office of the Bureau of Public Procurement led by its Director General, Mamman Ahmadu and immediate past Director General, Engineer Emeka Ezeh, heads of other relevant government agencies were absent.
Those announced to have absented themselves from the session were the Service Chiefs, the Inspector – General of Police, Abubakar Adamu, Head of Service, Folashade Esan, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning , Zainab Ahmed etc.
Irked by the development after the roll call, the Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shuaibu Lau (PDP Taraba North), said the absence of the affected heads of public establishments was discouraging.
“This committee is not happy with the absence of the critical stakeholders already identified.
“We are strongly expressing our displeasure on their conducts because after being formally invited, they not only absented themselves from this very important public hearing session but not forwarded any written submission on areas of proposed amendments on the Act.
“We are definitely not happy with them because the Act being amended is very critical to all, requiring inputs of all and sundry operating it or being regulated by it “, he said.
However in his submission at the session, the Director General of BPP, Mamman Ahmadu, picked holes in five different areas of the proposed amendments.
One of them is the administrative function the proposed amendment seeks to confer on the National Council on Public Procurement which he said is against global practices.
He said: “It appears that the draft amendment seeks to confer administrative functions to the National Council on Public Procurement.
“This proposal is fundamentally against the global principle of corporate governance which prohlbIts Councils/Boards from participating in day-to-day activities Agencies/organisations that they supervise;
“The Public Procurement Act, 2007 was patterned aher the Untted Nations Commercial International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on Publlc Procurement, which Is one of the most globally accepted public procurement model law.
“However, the proposed amendments to the PPA 2007 is In direct conflict wlth some basic principles of the UNCITRAL model Law particularly the proposal that advertisements should be for 2 weeks for National Competitive Bidding and 4 Weeks for International Competitive Bldd|ng.
“The UNCITRAL recommends 4 to 8 weeks for advertisement to enable bidders prepare their tenders properly.