Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Agba has described Nigeria’s procurement law as a drawback that continues to make implementation of the national budget somewhat difficult, thereby denying Nigerians some needed development strides.
“I don’t think the law, as it is, is best for our country. And it’s one of the things that drag our implementation of the national budget. And the law clearly shows that we don’t trust one another,” Agba said in response to questions on the procurement process in Nigeria at a media briefing on Monday in Abuja.
He attributed the bureaucratic bottlenecks in the procurement process as a major reason why contractors inflated contract sums most times.
He said the experience was that, sometimes, the private sector people who did the business were not sure of when they would ever be paid and so tended to inflate the contract sums to meet up with the time value of money (payment).
“Sometimes, it’s not as a result of corruption that the value of items is high. Honestly, I think the procurement law needs to change,” he said.
He pointed out that a couple of changes had been made through the Finance Bill, especially with advanced payment “which now puts the maximum amount for payment at 30 percent.” He said this required more.
“The way our process is designed, there is so much bureaucracy that it takes forever for the process to complete. It is akin to say I should run, and then you tie a rope on my legs to hold me down. Except and until it really changes, it will continue to affect our budget implementation,” Agba stated.
Agba said the administration would soon approve the use of e-procurement to facilitate the procurement process. He said it had reached advance stages. (Adapted from Leadership)