The Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC), an NGO, has called on the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of Open Contracting Data Standards so that procurement records and information would be proactively disclosed by public institutions.
Mrs. Gift Maxwell, Chief Operating Officer, PPDC, at a news conference in Abuja on Tuesday, said that the implementation should be in line with the Open Contracting Data Standards and the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act 2011.
Maxwell said 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 organisation had constantly engaged the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) and other stakeholders to discuss the status of Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO), 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 upon adoption of its first National Action Plan (NAP), which spanned through 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 into the platform with circulars followed by appropriate sanctions to give them the deserved effect whenever disobeyed,” she said.
Maxwell observed that many MDAs had 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 there was need to improve the country’s open contracting agenda, identify progress made, identify areas that required improvement and where gaps exist in the advancement of the implementation.
She 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.
Maxwell urged journalists to support efforts toward full implementation of open contracting in order to improve access to procurement records and information.
“That is the only way to ensure good value for taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Edited by Ephraims Sheyin