Abuja — The Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Mr. Mamman Ahmadu, has said transparency and accountability are crucial for increased citizens' participation in the country's procurement processes.
Speaking at the opening of a capacity building workshop to educate procurement officers from Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) on the use of the newly introduced Nigeria Open Contract Portal (NOCOPO) in preparing procurement plans and records, he said the bureau has decided to leverage on technology to prevent corruption as well as encourage competition in the contractual system.
He said: "The bureau in utilising improvements in modern technology developed NOCOPO portal which would ensure improved transparency, competition and accountability, prevent corruption and enhance active citizen participation in procurement, thereby ensuring better service delivery and improved ease of doing business.
"The technical session and group discussions are expected to educate participants on all the steps in creating procurement plans and records.
"It is expected that at the end of the workshop, participants will be well equipped and can prepare and submit procurement plans and records in line with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, 2007."
Earlier, the Director, Regulations, Database and Information Communication Technology, BPP, Dr. Aliyu Aliyu, stressed the need for agencies to key into the portal with a view to transit from submitting procurement plans through excel sheets to use of modern technology, stressing that the, "days of submitting procurement plans and records through excel sheets are over."
According to him: "This portal is the driver of open government partnership, which is a partnership between government and civil society.
"Essentially, we are trying to make everything to be transparent so that everything the MDAs are doing could be seen by the citizens."
He said: "So people can visit the portal and see that what is there is actually what the MDAs are doing. Rather than speculating, people will be able to fish out data."
He said going forward, the procurement agency will penalise agencies that failed to upload their procurement plans and records after the training.
He said: "The argument has always been that they don't know how to do it but BPP is bringing three procurement officers from each agency to educate them on the use of the portal. Any failure after this will not be tolerated."
However, procurement officers from the Federal Ministry of Health, teaching hospitals and federal medical centres are among participants at the training.