As part of efforts to improve accountability in the system, the Edo State government on Thursday organised a seminar for heads of ministries, agencies and departments in the state during which they were asked to adhere to the provisions of the state’s Procurement Law. The advise was part of the submission of participants at the seminar which held at the Banquet Hall, Government House, Benin City and was attended by the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of the Edo State Public Procurement Agency, (ESPPA), Henry Idogun. The theme of the seminar was “Essentials in Public Procurement Process and Organisation” and was meant to sensitize Edo officials and other stakeholders about the supremacy of the Public Procurement Law enacted in the state in 2012, for the sourcing of services and goods to ensure optimal service delivery and good governance.
Idogun, in his presentation, said complications linked to procurement often arise because government agencies do not keep to the conventional methods of sourcing services, goods and jobs at the national and international levels.
He talked about unconventional methods, which though lawful, often create conflict and which public servants ought to guard against if they are to maintain transparency and accountability.
Said Idogun: “Many would argue that drug procurement falls into emergency service. But it isn’t, because, if the official in charge requested to replenish stock as and when due, there wouldn’t be a need to classify drugs as an emergency good. We are to work in the background to ensure that everyone complies with the law, and we are committed to ensuring that this is done.”
Julius Ihonvbere, head of Edo State’s Strategic Planning Committee, on his part, said the Edo State government wants everyone involved with procurement to understand the import, implication, and essence of the Procurement Act which was why the seminar was put together.
According to Ihonvbere, times have changed, and require transparent ways of doing things. “This is a different era. First, we started with a strategic plan for the state, which started with a strategic dialogue attended by all stakeholders. Thereafter, we did targeted workshops for each ministry and some departments. Then, we developed Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) for each commissioner. Then we required that using their initiative, they develop a work plan, which is aligned to the budget. We want to ensure that absolutely no procurement would be done in Edo State without compliance with the Procurement Law. So, it is part of our effort on the war against corruption and abuse of office.”
Paul Ohonbamu, the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, said the seminar was meant to expose government officials and other stakeholders in the procurement strata to the legal and institutional framework for doing business with the state government.
“The intent of this workshop is to ensure that government is for governance and not for looting. Once we have that as the watchword, we would bid goodbye to the days of looting. We want to ensure that sanity is brought into the way goods and services are procured. At the end of the day, when these loop holes are covered, stealing and fraud would become things of the past,” he said.