By Femi Ogunshola,
News Agency of Nigeria (NAN)
“We often think of great battles as having been won by superior strategy, bravery or weaponry, but the greatest battles are decided by a much more strategic factor called procurement, logistics and supply chain management, says Alhaji Muhammed Aliyu, the Registrar, Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management of Nigeria (CIPSMN).
The registrar made the assertion at the 2019 induction, where over 280 members of CIPSMN were inducted.
Aliyu said that procurement and supply remained the key to unravelling the economic problem bedevilling Nigeria.
He said that it should not be a business that should be opened to all without the requisite knowledge and training.
CIPSMN was established in 1974 and chartered by Act 21 of 2007
According to Aliyu, any bureaucracy and established business that fail to recognise the importance of procurement is heading to disaster.
Aliyu also decried the absence of National Council on Public Procurement, that ought to regulate the activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement.
To overcome this challenge, Aliyu called for the implementation of Public Procurement Act 14 of 2007, to allow professionals take charge, as obtainable in other climes.
He noted that quacks have taken over the procurement and supply chains in the country, and stressed the need to bequeath good and acceptable procurement practice.
Alhaji Jibrin, the President of CIPSMN, said that in the past, government procurement system was unorganised, uncoordinated, unplanned, and bedevilled with nepotism, waste, abuse and abandoned projects.
The president of the institute said this was largely due to lack of transparency, probity, accountability and non-procurement professionals manning procurement process in the country.
He said for corruption, nepotism and favouritism to be stamped out of procurement process in the country, professionals must be in charge.
“You must carry out the procurement functions by respecting the entire competitors, so that everybody will be equal.
“In the past, this has not been done, and even now, some elements of these are still being violated, but we are trying to show to our members that this thing should be a thing of the past and procurement must be done professionally,” he said
He said that the institute was training its members to be up to the task, stressing that if members of the institute were allowed to practice efficiently the economy of Nigeria would improve.
Reacting to the series of alleged corruption in the country’s procurement process, Abdul Mamman, Abuja Coordinator of CIPSMN, noted that the procurement law itself is an anti -corruption protocol of the United Nations.
He said that Nigeria being a signatory to the UN anti-corruption protocol was under obligations to domesticate the National Council on Public Procurement in the country since 2007, when CIPSMN was chartered by Act 21.
Mamman observed that one of the fundamental violations to the law has to do with the non-constitution of the council.
He explained that the essence of the council was for policy making, policy enunciation and redirection in terms of evolving new and latest ideas in carrying out procurement.
According to him, in doing that, the council will oversee the activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement.
“But what do we see till date, the BPP is existing, while the council is non –existence,’’ he noted.
Mamman raised a poser as to who at the moment would query the BPP, should it violate the procurement act in the discharge of its duty.
Mamman stressed that the National Council on Public Procurement remained the only body that was enshrined in the act to check what happens at the BPP.
He said that President Muhammadu Buhari would have inaugurated the council in 2017, but it was aborted.
“Then you do know that in Nigeria today, the President is noted to be an anti-corruption crusader, but he cannot do it alone, and most sincerely we come to the realisation of the fact that procurement related corruption is towering higher every day,” Mamman noted.
He emphasised that professionals must be employed to man the procurement process.
“To be in procurement, no matter who you are, and what you have studied in the university or polytechnic, you need to cap it up with professional qualification because it is just like having an icing on the cake.
“Some people are dragged to the procurement today, that do not have the technical know-how; for you to go for two weeks seminar and then you are saddled with the responsibility of procurement is not enough.’’
Mamman called for proper monitoring of procurement officers so that they could be taught the code of ethics, stressing that Nigeria can reduce procurement related corruption by doing the right thing.
Mr Soji Adeniyi, the chairman of the induction ceremony, noted that procurement remained a critical factor in the development of the nation.
He called on the government to allow professionals to handle procurement.
According to him, you will agree with me that when we listen to the budget of the country, we talk about billions that have been assigned to procurement in term of good roads, services and infrastructure in the country.
“And more often than not, it is the professionals that are saddled with the responsibility to do such procurement with a sense of excellence, and if they are not well trained, the issue of corruption that we are trying to address as a nation will never be over.’’
He bemoaned the incursion of quacks into the procurement profession, while frowning at a situation where people lacking in professional acumen were assigned to procurement process.
“A chief executive will bring in just anyone either because of religious bias, or ethnicity; and the procurement officer is expected to be honest, but beyond honesty, procurement is a function that needs to be done professionally with certain ethics and value in the process of delivering results.
Adeniyi said that Nigeria must train and employ professionals to main the country’s procurement process in order to ensure effective and efficient service delivery. (NAN Features)