By Lucy Nwachukwu
Corruption in the procurement process has affected the efficiency of public spending and the opportunities to improve quality of lives of Nigerians, Alhaji Bala Kaoje, a former Minister has said.
Kaoje, a former Minister of Sports and Youth Development, also said that corruption in the procurement process accounts for over 70 per cent of the government’s total budget.
The former minister spoke at the induction of new members and fellows of the Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN) on Saturday in Abuja.
He said: “In Nigeria, corruption affects the efficiency of public spending and the opportunities to improve quality of life of the citizens.
“Due to the importance of a good procurement system in governance, Nigeria had the first Procurement Act in 2007 which provides for the harmonisation of existing government policies and practices on public procurement.
“It is to ensure probity, accountability and transparency in procurement process, which if judiciously practiced will reduce corruption in the country to the barest minimum.
“The institute is today showcasing yet another batch of professionally chartered members of the procurement and supply chain management personnel.
“They will contribute in no small measure toward the prevention of corruption in procurement and development of our country.”
Kaoje, also a former President, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria, said that the World Bank had equally called on all member states to adopt transparent measures in public sector budgeting and expenditures.
According to him, experts also identified procurement as the area most prone to corruption in all sectors of the economy.
He also faulted the existing procurement law which he said was not favourable to the middle class who could not afford to execute projects with only 15 per cent mobilisation.
“The eligibility criteria for tendering in Nigeria is too cumbersome and it eliminates lower income earning contractors and suppliers.
“It kills the middle class in the society and only the big time contractors and suppliers who have the resources to meet up with the stringent laid requirements can compete.
“This is certainly unfair in a country where less than 10 per cent of the population fall within the bracket of big time contractors or suppliers, while 90 per cent of the population is either middle class or low income earning group.
“The 15 per cent mobilisation presently approved, is unreasonable and can only lead to contract abandonment; perhaps 30 per cent advance payment could be better for contractors,” Kaoje said. (NAN)