By Olawale Abdul-Fatah
The Deputy Governor of Lagos State, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, has stressed the need for Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the State Government to comply with the provisions of the State Procurement Law in all their procurement activities.
The Deputy Governor, represented by Yetunde Odejayi, Permanent Secretary, Deputy Governor’s Office, stated this at the 3rd Annual Procurement Summit organised by the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (PPA), held at the Eko FM Marquee, LTV Complex, Ikeja, Lagos.
Hamzat enjoined Public Servants in the State to take advantage of the series of enlightenment and advocacy programmes being organised by the Agencies for the various categories of stakeholders to learn more about the provisions of the Procurement Law and its implementation so that due process in public procurement could be sustained in the State.
He also called on participants at the Summit to seize the opportunity offered by the programme to ask questions on any issue relating to the implementation of the Procurement Law, pointing out that ignorance of the Law would not be a tenable excuse for lapses on the part of people saddled with the responsibility of carrying out public procurement in the State.
In his remarks at the event, the Lagos State Head of Service, Hakeem Muri-Okunola, noted with satisfaction that the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (PPA) has recorded great achievements within the short period of its existence “as procuring entities have come to embrace procurement as best practice and a new way of doing business in a transparent, economical, effective and efficient manner” despite the stiff opposition the Agency faced at inception.
While commending the Agency for the giant strides it had made in entrenching the culture of due process and transparency in the procurement process through a series of engagements with stakeholders, the Head of Service, represented by Samson Ajibade, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Head of Service, urged the management of the Agency “to keep up the pace as a reference point in public procurement practice in the country”.
Muri-Okunola also expressed appreciation to the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, for providing the enabling environment for staff in the various MDAs to discharge their duties without any fear of molestation, adding that this had enabled the staff to demonstrate their creative potentials in solving some of the challenges of governance.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Commissioner for Finance in the State, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, stated that the Summit was designed as a platform for the exchange of ideas between the State Government, Procurement Professionals and other stakeholders with a view to “identifying the challenges and proffering solutions so that the implementation of the Procurement Law could be seamless”.
Olowo noted that the deployment of the e-Procurement Solution Modules to the public procurement process in three pilot Ministries – Health, Education as well as Works and Infrastructure – was part of the policy of the State Government to enhance the ease of doing business.
Earlier, the General Manager of the Agency, Fatai Onafowote, had explained that the Summit was organised to further update knowledge and deepen understanding of procurement process and procedures, stressing that the Summit was also designed to respond to “the myriad of issues that have arisen since the inception of the Agency”.
Onafowote maintained that the Agency will continue to strive towards improvement in the discharge of its functions so as to continue to earn the respect of stakeholders who had adjudged the Agency as having surpassed its contemporaries in the adherence to internationally acceptable standards in public procurement.
The General Manager reiterated that the Summit was organised to remind the internal stakeholders in the various MDAs of the State on their roles, noting that when internal stakeholders know their roles in the procurement process, there would be less fear, suspicion and acrimony among them in the implementation of the Procurement Law.