The Senate on Wednesday passed the Public Procurement Act 2007 amendment bills before the National Assembly. This was even as the President of the Senate, Ahmad Ibrahim Lawan, announced that the 2020 Appropriation bill before the National Assembly will be passed on 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 are sponsored by Senators Shuaibu Isah (PDP, Taraba North); Uche Ekwunife (PDP, Anambra Central); Danladi Sankara (APC, Jigawa North West).
Chairman of the Committee, Senator Shuaibu Isah Lau (PDP, Taraba North), in his presentation, said “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.” The Senate, in a clause-by-clause consideration of the bill, adopted the recommendations of the committee with slight amendments made to Section 1 under the Establishment of National Council on Public Procurement. 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 (APC, Kano North) and seconded by Ibikunle Amosun (APC, Ogun Central).
The Senate, however, settled for a thirty-percent review moved by Senator Abba Moro (PDP, Benue South) and seconded by Senator Rose Oko (PDP, Cross River North). In his remarks, the Senate President said that the passage of the Public Procurement Bill will complement the 2020 budget set to be passed tomorrow by the Senate. The report of the Senate Committee on Appropriations was laid before the upper chamber on Wednesday by its Chairman, Senator Jibrin Barau. According to Lawan, the Public Procurement bill passed by the upper chamber will be forwarded to the House of Representatives for concurrence. “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 sometime, 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 said.