The Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) has called on the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of open contracting in the country such that procurement records and information are proactively disclosed by public institutions.
Mrs Gift Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer, PPDC, at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said the implementation should be in line with the Open Contracting Data Standards and the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011.
Maxwell noted that the organisation with its partner, Media Rights Agenda (MRA) had been working tirelessly to realise the goal of institutionalising open contracting in Nigeria.
According to her, although the organisations have constantly engaged the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and other stakeholders to discuss the status of Nigeria open contracting portal (NOCOPO), it is sad that many public institutions still fail to upload their procurement data on the platform.
“As you may be aware, Nigeria joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) as the 70th member in 2016 and upon adoption of its first National Action Plan (NAP), which spanned the period January 2017 to June 2019.
” It made commitment to the full implementation of open contracting as its second commitment under fiscal transparency thematic area.
” This commitment has led to the development of NOCOPO by the BPP.
” The portal is expected to feed procurement data from the pilot Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) showing records of contracts from planning to implementation stages.
” This is a wake-up call on the Federal Government to ensure that public institutions feed their information proactively and timeously into the platform as circulars should be followed with appropriate sanctions to give it the deserved effect whenever disobeyed,” she said.
Maxwell observed that many MDAs failed to upload their procurement data thereby disregarding the July 2018 circular issued by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) mandating all public institutions to use the NOCOPO.
She added that the PPDC had continued to train various stakeholders including civil society organisations, journalists and citizens saying the platform must also have the information for people to engage with the government.
She added that there was need to improve the country’s open contracting agenda, identify progress made, areas that require improvement and identify where gaps exist in the advancement of the implementation.
She, therefore, commended the ongoing efforts by the BPP to sensitise relevant stakeholders in the public institutions while urging it to steadfastly implement its commitment to train all public institutions to be able to use the NOCOPO effectively.
She, however, called on journalists to join the efforts in holding the Federal Government to account on a commitment to fully implement open contracting in order to improve access to procurement records and information and as well ensure that government contracts deliver good value for taxpayers’ money.