The Senate on Wednesday during plenary passed the Public Procurement Act 2007 amendment bills even as it had scheduled the passage of the 2020 Appropriation Bill for Thursday, December 5, 2019
The passage of the Public Procurement bills by the upper chamber was sequel to presentation and consideration of the report of the Senate Committee on Public Procurement. The three amendment bills were sponsored by Senators Shuaibu Isah Lau; Uche Ekwunife; and Danladi Sankara
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shuaibu Isah Lau, in his presentation said that “certain amendments were made on the bills to encapsulate the ingredients of the varied views collated from experts and professionals, aimed at adding value to the Procurement Act.”
Following the presentation, the upper chamber, in a clause-by-clause consideration of the bills, adopted the recommendations of the committee with slight amendments made to Section 1 under the Establishment of National Council on Public Procurement.
Specifically, the amendment to Clause 1 of the bill provides that the Council shall consist of a Chairman who shall be appointed by the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, as against the previous provision of the 2007 Act which specifically names the Minister of Finance as Chairman.
The Senate also adopted the committee’s recommendation on the issuance of Certificate of No Objection which shall be issued by a Committee of Directors of the Bureau to the chaired by the Director-General of the Public Procurement Bureau.
Similarly, the upper chamber considered the recommendation of the committee to review upwards the mobilization fee from 15 percent to 20 percent for local contractors as insufficient.
Accordingly, Section 35 of the Act was amended to provide for not more than thirty percent mobilization for local contractors.
The amendment for an upward review of thirty-five percent mobilization for local contractors was initially proposed by Senator Jibrin Barau and seconded by Ibikunle Amosun. The Senate, however, settled for a thirty-percent review moved by Senator Abba Moro and seconded by Senator Rose Oko.
In his remarks, the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, said that the passage of the Public Procurement Bills would complement the 2020 budget set to be passed tomorrow by the Senate.
The Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriation, Senator Jibrin Barau, laid the committee’s report before the upper chamber on Wednesday.
On the Public Procurement amendment bills passed by the upper chamber, Senator Lawan said that the bills would be forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence.
He explained: “What we have done today is really to put the icing on the cake on what we are about to do tomorrow by the grace of God when we pass the 2020 budget. We have already passed the Finance bills that will ensure that we get the required revenue to implement the budget.
“The public procurement process in Nigeria has been a big bottleneck for some time, probably since it was passed. I believe that with this amendment, the procurement process will be faster and better, as will be the budget implementation process.
“Surely, this bill will have to go to the House of Representatives for them to concur. I had a discussion with the Honourable Speaker that they will concur with us before we go on the Christmas break so that we will give the executive all they would require for them to implement the 2020 budget successfully”, Lawan added.