Every Nigerian Must Be Educated On Provisions Of Procurement Act – Aliyu - Educational News
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Every Nigerian Must Be Educated On Provisions Of Procurement Act – Aliyu

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Fadeyi Oluwaseun
Ladoke Akintola University Ogbomosho
B.tech Marketing Management
Graduate, Nigeria.

Alhaji Mohammed Aliyu is the Registrar and Chief Executive Officer of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN). In this interview with OYENIRAN APATA, he spoke on the institute’s induction of new members and the need for Nigerians to study the Procurement Act, among other issues. Excerpts:

What is your assessment of procurement and supply chain management practise in Nigeria, What are the plans in place for further enlightenment?

Procurement takes control of the lion’s share of any expenditure of any organisation or government budget. It takes about 80 to 90 per cent, according to the World Bank study and report. With this, one deduces that procurement is a serious business in any system or country that looked into its’ processes to where it ends. Robert Freemen in one of his statements said any organisation or system that ignores procurement ignores investment totally and value for money.

Unfortunately, Nigeria is yet to realize the importance of this specialized and her professionals. The failure of the government to accord due recognition in the process of procurement is responsible for the negative outcomes of failed projects in public, few private organisations and in the procurement for public schools, hospitals, among others.

For instance, when you talk about electrical processes and the importation of any item, procurement has important roles to play because it is the process of acquisitions.

What does Nigeria stand to gain through the engagement of professionals for procurement?

It is time Nigeria begins to do it right and engage professionals in order to restore the dignity of the country where unauthorised persons are engaged in the processes basically for personal gains. They are opposed to professional processes because they don’t want due process to take place. Look at the judiciary too, if due process is followed in government procurement it will save highly placed people avoidable embarrassments and public disgrace.

What are the pitfalls procurement professionals should avoid?

As earlier advocated that people who are not professional procurement personnel should desist from engaging in it for personal gains because once professionals are not involved it is completely disrupted. This will save the public officials of disgrace in the future. A non-medical person that is taking patients into the theatre for surgical operation can kill many people. So it is with a non-procurement professional who will not only disgrace himself but make the entire people that are supposed to benefit from values embedded in the item wrongly procured to suffer and in the end waste taxpayers money because of greed.

What are some of the measures professionals can adopt to save organisations from over-invoicing?

Where an extravagant specification is submitted or prepared, a procurement professional can call for a table conference as to adjust an order. For instance in the area of local content, if a specification is made and the aspect involved is where the country has a comparative advantage, a professional can give an advice on the need to take the economy of the country into consideration. He/ she can ask why the preference for importation when the item can be sourced locally. In the area of importation, a professional can give advice that could save a lot of hard earning foreign exchange that can help the organisation in many ways. He will explore the possibility of local content inclusion provided it is good enough to achieve the desired result. A professional is always sniffing to make sure that global best practice is put in place at all times and due process mechanism is adopted regularly.

For instance, you will find out how goods are imported into the country with tax payers money only to be dumped and left to rot away. Remember NITEL where cables were brought into the country and dumped to rot away. Go to the Nigerian Railway yard, a lot of items not needed are hurriedly imported and dumped.

Considering the challenge of engaging trained procurement officers in public and private establishments, how many people has the institute trained?

The private sector is not complaining because our members are doing fine in this sector. It is only in the public sector that we have problems due to lack of knowledge and corruption tendencies. It is in the process of procurement and awarding contracts that prices are inflated, goods are improperly received, stored and fraudulently issued or distributed some government official will steal government property and resell the same to government by people who don’t know what it entails. When a procurement officer is saddled with that function, the 10% inducement offered by contractors can be ploughed back and buy more to serve the consumers. If you deduct 10% on a particular purchase order it means you are reducing the volume of drugs or items you could have purchased to serve the people.

At any point in time we organise induction, we graduate a minimum of 100 professionals. We have enough professionals that can serve the government of Nigeria. But the government will not engage them because they cannot be compromised or arm-twisted to short-change tax payers. Any competent qualities procurement person cannot be arm-twisted by any government official. A certified procurement professional has more than ten areas that can be explored to help a given organisation.

What is the relevance of your institute to nation-building?

The institute is relevant and very key to the national economy development especially since is the area that takes the lion share of the budget of any system. For that, it ought to be given the necessary recognition it deserved in every aspect of operations management.

The result of such neglect is what we are witnessing in Nigeria. A good example of this is the unresolved N2.1 billion procurement arms scam. That tells you how we have undermined procurement professionals that are available in the country. The dangerous signal to the world is that Nigeria does not have the professionals. We have been signalling this area to government times without limit that this aspect of the system ought to be given adequate recognition in the public procurement system and indeed scheme of service. But, that has been the case and the country had to suffer greatly for this.

That is why the country’s image and finances are in a mess because procurement is the conduit pipe through which officials cleverly mismanaged the country’s resources. It is when purchases are made that all the nefarious activities are perpetrated. It is when contracts and procurement are awarded that they manipulate money and siphon wealth of the country. Many accusations of fund diversions against top public officials were through contracts and procurement. The government of the day needs to know that the certified procurement professionals knows the best time of product to purchase, where to purchase them from and the best to me to do so. Let me quickly add that the art and science of procurement that adds value and increase revenue benefit to product purchased can only be interpreted by the procurement professionals. The Nigeria government at both federal and state are yet to fully appreciate what procurement and supply chain management is all about. That is why no proper attention is paid to the origin of its art and science and where is heading

All these events of the past had signalled warnings to the country to take procurement seriously in order to block the conduit pipe through which government officials hide to siphoned public funds.

It beats my imagination that despite talks about due process mechanism many public officers saddled with responsibilities still fall short of these processes to ensure transparency? Is this deliberate or cheer ignorance on the part of Nigerians?

Inauguration of Public procurement Act 14 of 2007 to the letter as regard the inauguration of council would create awareness and educate the public on the implications of sharp practices. Professionals who are supposed to create awareness are not allowed to take a position in the establishments and that explains the perpetration of criminal activities under the guise of procurement. It is necessary for Nigerians to study laws on procurement processes as contained in the Procurement Act of 2007.

As the registrar and procurement professional what do you see to the present administration trying to address some of the problems facing the country and the mistakes of the past?

Thank you very much the president is trying his best, but I feel that he should give opportunities to the core professionals to help him drive his programs because we professionals particularly procurement professionals will tell him the truth about issues without any invested interest other than the interest in seeing that the country develops. For example, the government of the day needs to know that procurement professionals knows the best type of product to buy, where to buy from and the best time to buy and negotiate effectively and efficiently on behalf of the government. Needless to say, that the act and science of procurement adds value and increases benefits to task payers money.

Procurement professionals must be encouraged and empowered to work with finance and account persons at the same level for the benefit of the social, technological, environmental, economic and political (STEEP). Now is the time for the policy to be implemented to the letter .

Source: https://www.independent.ng/every-nigerian-must-be-educated-on-provisions-of-procurement-act-aliyu/

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