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‘It contravenes procurement act’ — group faults n’assembly over constituency projects

‘It contravenes procurement act’ — group faults n’assembly over constituency projects
April 08
22:33 2024

The Network for the Actualisation of Social Growth and Viable Development (NEFGAD), a public procurement advocacy group, has condemned the interference of the national assembly with budgetary allocations under the guise of constituency projects.

In March, Abdul Ningi, the senator representing Bauchi central alleged that the 2024 budget was padded by N3 trillion.

The senator also alleged that the country is operating two budgets concurrently.

The senate suspended Ningi for three months over his inability to provide evidence to back his allegations.

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However, in a letter to President Bola Tinubu on Monday, Akingunola Omoniyi, the head of the group, said project initiation by the lawmakers is beyond the legislative powers of the national assembly as outlined in the Nigerian constitution and the Public Procurement Act 2007.

He advised the president to take immediate action to address violations, noting that the “budget padding” has given the country a bad name.

“The legislative power of the national assembly is to make laws, and such power in itself is not without limit, particularly on public procurement,” the letter reads.

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“The power had been sufficiently exercised by the enactment of the extant Public Procurement Act 2007, hence, any conduct of the National Assembly on public contracts outside of the extant Public Procurement Act/regulations amounts to abuse of power/over-legislation.

“The power to initiate any procurement proceeding is purely an executive function and lies with procuring entities/ministerial and extra-ministerial procurement committees and such must be conducted strictly in line with section 18 (a, b, c d, e, f and g) of the Public Procurement Act 2007.

“The provisions mandate procuring entities to engage in the planning of procurement to prepare the needs assessment and evaluation; identifying the goods/works or services required.

“The spirit and letter of the Public Procurement Act underscore the need to organise public procurement to ensure economy of scale, guide against undue interference and ensure that the process maintains a high level of proven system scrutiny and integrity. 

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“Hence, any project/procurement item that does not satisfy legally outlined planning and organizational criteria (as in the case of constituency projects which are inserted midway into public procurement proceedings by the national assembly), is utterly defective.”

 

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