By Orkula Shaagee – Abuja
The House of Representatives has described the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as an illegal institution and therefore, called on President Muhammadu Buhari to set up a National Procurement Council.
The House, in a motion sponsored by Unyime Idem (PDP-Akwa-Ibom), urged the President to constitute a Procurement Council in line with the extant law.
Idem told the House that “Section 1 of the Public Procurement Act, 2007, provided for the establishment of the National Council on Public Procurement to supervise the activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement and carry out other functions such as to consider, approve and amend the monetary and prior review thresholds for the application of the provisions of this Act by procuring entities, consider and approve policies on public procurement, approve the appointment of the Directors of the Bureau, receive and consider, for approval, the audited accounts of the Bureau of Public Procurement, approve changes in the procurement process to adapt to improvements in modern technology and give such other directives and perform such other functions as may be necessary to achieve the objectives of this Act”.
He said “Section 1 (2) provides for the constitution of the National Council on Public Procurement which shall consist of the Minister of Finance as Chairman, the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice of the Federation, the Secretary the Government of the Federation, the Head of Service of the Federation, the Economic Adviser to the President”.
The Council was also to consist of six part-time members to represent: Nigeria Institute of Purchasing and Supply Management, Nigeria Bar Association, Nigeria Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Civil Society, the Media and the Director-General of the Bureau who shall be the Secretary of the Council.
“The essence of the National Council on Public Procurement is to ensure that the Bureau of Public Procurement carries out its functions based on transparency, competition, integrity, and ensuring bets value for money.
Other essence of the National Council on Public Procurement was to help check fraudulent practices in the award of public contracts through inflation of contract costs, poor project prioritization, poor budgeting process, and other manipulations of procurement and contract award processes”.
He expressed worries that “13 years after the Public Procurement Act was passed and signed into law, the National Council on Public Procurement has not been constituted thus contravening section 1 of the Public Procurement Act”. He worried that “the constitutional functions of the National Council on Public Procurement have been taken over by the Federal Executive Council”, as he said that he was “saddened that the absence of the National Council on Public Procurement, has weakened public engagement and involvement in the procurement process being the focal point of corruption in the public service.
It has also eroded and relegated to the background its core function of regulating the activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement responsible for monitoring and over-sighting public procurement and harmonization of existing government policies and practices”. He said he was “devastated that the Bureau of Public Procurement as is presently constituted is illegal and was done in flagrant disobedience to the provisions of the Public Procurement Act. Specifically, Section 2 (c) of the enabling Act states that the National Council on Public Procurement shall have the powers to appoint Directors of the Bureau for Public Procurement.
The bill, also said section 5 (3) states that the Bureau shall formulate the general policies and guidelines relating to public sector procurement for the approval of the Council.
The absence of a substantive Council has made these very important functions to be at the behest of the Federal Executive Council”. He said he expressed optimism that “the National Council on Public Procurement which will be made up of men and women of proven integrity, will ensure due process in the award of contracts, eliminate corrupt practices in the procurement process”. He said he was” hopeful that a properly constituted and inaugurated National Council on Public Procurement will further strengthen and institutionalize the fight against corruption which has become a recurring decimal to the development of Nigeria”.
The House adopted the motion in its entirety, mandating the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency set up the National Council on Public Procurement (NCPP) to actively coordinate the activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement and give full effect to the Act.
The House, also mandated “the Federal Government to immediately dissolve the existing composition of the Bureau of Public Procurement as it was not properly constituted”.
It also mandated “the House Committee on Public Procurement to liaise with the Federal Government to ensure compliance and report to the House within two weeks”.
VAT War: Lagos, Rivers Lose First Round to FIRS
The Court of Appeal in Abuja has denied the Rivers and Lagos state governments of the rights to collect Value Added Tax (VAT) in their respective states.
The court said the oral application for the restraining order against the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS) adopted by the states’ legal team, was not acceptable.
A three-man panel of the court, led by Haruna Tsanami, directed the lawyers representing the two states to file a formal application in place of an oral application.
The FIRS had appealed against the judgement of the Federal High Court in Port Harcourt empowering the Rivers State government to collect VAT.
The Tsanami-led panel had last Friday ordered parties to the case to maintain status quo, which appeared to be the decision both Rivers and Lagos tried to overturn yesterday.
The court had also adjourned till Thursday for the hearing of an application by Lagos state, not yet officially a party to the suit, to be joined as a respondent to the FIRS’ appeal.
Emotion ran high after Rivers and Lagos legal teams prayed for the restraining order against FIRS at yesterday’s proceedings.
The lawyers on the two sides of the divide had tense back-and-forth arguments over the request for restraining order.
Rivers and Lagos legal teams, led by Ifedayo Adedipe and Moyosore Onigbanjo, prayed for what they described as “preservative order” restraining the FIRS from collecting VAT and sharing the proceeds to states pending the determination of the substantive appeal.
“My Lords, the appellant (FIRS) collects VAT and shares amongst states of the federation.
“Therefore, if it is not stopped from doing so, and the court finds its action unconstitutional, it will be difficult to recover the VAT proceeds that must have been shared to the States,” Mr Adedipe, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), said.
Onigbanjo, the Attorney-General of Lagos State, and SAN, canvassed the same line of argument.
According to him, if FIRS is not restrained from collecting VAT and sharing it among the states of the federation, in the event the court finds its action inappropriate at the end of the day, “then it will be difficult to recover the VAT proceeds that must have been shared to the states.”
Reacting to the oral request by Rivers and Lagos lawyers, FIRS lawyer, Mahmud Magaji, also a SAN, faulted the arguments of his opponents in a combative tone.
“My Lords, I think my learned colleagues are testing the patience of the court, when it is clear that their application has no basis,” Mr Magaji said, adding that the Lagos government lacked the right to make such a request when it was yet to be joined as an interested party.This submission drew Onigbanjo’s ire who wanted to reply Magaji, but for the intervention of a member of the Appeal Court panel, cautioning the FIRS lawyer to “exhibit higher sense of decorum in addressing his colleagues
Plateau Assembly Commends FG Delegations to State
From Jude Dangwam, Jos
The Plateau State House of Assembly has commended the Federal Government for sending delegations at different levels to facilitate peace in Plateau following the recent serial attacks that claimed many lives and property worth millions of naira destroyed in the state.
They stressed that the presence of the Secretary to the Government of Nigeria, Boss Mustapha (SGF), Rev. Dr. Samson Ayokunle (SUPO Ayokunle) CAN President, Gen. Lucky Iraboh – Chief of Defence Staff, the Sultan of Sokoto and President Supreme Council for Islamic in Nigeria, His Eminent Mohammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, has gone a long way in reinforcing the confidence of citizens of the state on Government.
The State Assembly states this yesterday through its spokesperson, Hon. Dasun Philip Peter, the Chairman, House Committee on Information at a Media briefing in Josl
They also applauded Governor Simon Lalong for implementing five out of the six resolutions earlier issued to him by the 9th Assembly with a two weeks ultimatum for actions in the interest of citizens of the state.
According to Hon. Dasun “You may recall that the House of Assembly gave two weeks for the Governor to act on its resolutions on Security to address the insecurity challenges affecting the State at that particular time.
“We felt it is important as an organized institution; we have a duty to communicate back to the people of Plateau State the outcome of the resolution and of the present position of the Assembly.
“We gave a six-item resolution to the Executive Governor to act on within two weeks. He has so far been able to address five of the items remaining one that is ongoing,” he explained.
The Chairman House Committee on Information said the six resolutions were for the Governor to “Visit Yelwa Zangam Community in Jos North and pay the hospital bills of those affected in the conflict.
“Visit to extend relief materials to the Rukuba Irigwe Community, Riyom, Bokkos and Mangu, and to address the people of Plateau on the Security situation and show to people of Plateau state a renewed commitment.
“To improve the security situation in the State by engaging the advance security operatives. To also suspend the planned Adhoc teachers recruitment and to replace it with the Vigilante, and Local hunters as well as implement the Anti Land Grabbing Law to enable those occupying illegal lands on the Plateau to vacate such lands and native owners to take back their lands.”
The Assembly said it will not condone any action that is capable of threatening the peace and progress of the state, as they pledged to continued to stand with the people of the state at all time.
“We as an institution will not condone any act of insecurity and killings in the Plateau henceforth. As an Arm of Government with the People at heart, we are still putting on record that we stand with the people of Plateau and we give assurances of commitment to the course of Plateau and its heritage.
“Worthy of note, is the fact that the House is still resolute in support of the Leadership of Rt. Hon. Abok Nuhu Ayuba, our firm Speaker and our Loyalty to him is unshakeable,” he firmly stated.
Umahi, Uzodinma, Obiano others absent from Southern Governors Meeting
Four Southeast Governors were absent at the Southern Nigeria Governors Forum meeting winch commenced in Enugu yesterday.
Enugu Governor, Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi, who hosted the meeting, was the only Governor from the Southeast present at the venue at the time of filling this report.
His counterparts from Abia, Ebonyi and Imo sent representatives while that of Anambra State did not send any representative.
The closed-door meeting, which was being coordinated by Ondo Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredol, commenced with nine Governors and seven deputies.
Other Governors at the meeting were Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Gbenga Oyetola (Osun); Babajide Sanwo-Olu(Lagos); Nyesom Wike (Rivers); Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom); Duoye Diri (Bayelsa) and Dapo Abiodun (Ogun).
The Deputy Governors were Prof Evara Esu (Cross River); Udo Okochukwu (Abia); Bisi Egbeyemi (Ekiti); Kelechi Igwe (Ebonyi); Rauf Olaniyan (Oyo); Philip Shuaibu (Edo) and Prof. Placid Njoku (Imo).
The governors first ushered in to a security guard of honour, were later received by Ugwuanyi at the Government Lodge.
Before entering the venue of the meeting, Akeredolu welcomed his fellow governors to the Coal City State and assured the outcome of the meeting would be made known in a communiqué.
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