The House of Representatives on Thursday, read for a third time, a Bill for an Act to amend the Public Procumbent Act 2007.
The Bill amongst other things seeks to shorten the procurement process, amend the procedure for appointing the Director General of the Bureau and extend the application of the Act to the Defence Procurement.
Speaking shortly after the passage of the Bill, the speaker, Yakubu Dogara who also sponsored the bill, sought the permission of lawmakers to speak on the essence of the Bill for the benefit of their constituents.
Dogara noted that two landmark bills were passed during the week ending in line with the nation’s efforts to sanitise its business environment and improve the ease of doing business.
He emphasised that the amendment will not only ensure that Nigeria had value for money by ensuring smoother implementation of national budgets as passed but will help to resuscitate the economy.
According to him, the chairman of the National Council for Public Procurement will now be appointed by the President.
“Replacing the Honourable Minister of Finance, whose ministry is adjudged to be a procurement entity and cannot sit on procurement matters that may potentially concern the Ministry of Finance.
“You obviously know that is contrary to the principle of natural justice, where you sit as a judge on your own matter,” Dogara said.
The speaker explained that the National Council of Public Procurement will now include a member of the Institute of Quantity Surveyors because of the professional role it played in procurement activities.
“The appointment of the director general of the council will now be subject to confirmation by the Senate. You will recall that part of the law has been very difficult to implement.
“The amendment also seeks to shorten the procurement time by the Bureau of Public Procurement on procuring entities.
“Right now, you will find that if you commence procurement activities, it lasts for not less than four months and then we feel that that is very restrictive and will not serve the needed planning and implementation of projects that deal on national priorities.”
The Speaker further explained that the Bill also seeks to increase mobilisation fees payable to contractors from 15 per cent to more than 50 per cent and make it a criminal offence to abscond or not to carry out works commensurate to fees paid.
“This is what the National Assembly seeks to achieve and we hope that as soon as this is transmitted to the President for assent, he will quickly assent to it.” Dogara said.