83 per cent of federal budget executed
Thursday, 15 March 2012 00:00  From Madu Onuorah and Terhemba Daka, Abuja  News  –  National

Govt awards more ports, power contracts

Reps oppose W’Bank role in procurement process

INDICATIONS that federal ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are turning a new leaf in the implementation of budgets emerged yesterday.

The cheery news was broken at the Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting where Co-ordinating Minister for the Economy and Minister of Finance, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, said the 2011 budget has been implemented up to 83 per cent.

Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku who briefed journalists alongside his Transport counterpart, Idris Umar, said: “Dr. Okonjo-Iweala informed the Council that the 2011 budget has to date been implemented up to 83 per cent. And we still have some weeks to the end of the month when last year’s budget implementation will end. We expect the figure to be higher at the end of the month. This is different from the past years when budgets were not implemented and funds were returned to the Federation Account.”

The Council also approved contract for the rehabilitation of the terminal at the old Warri Port, Delta State, as well as construction of five sub-station projects in five locations within Nigeria.

In addition, the Council approved contract for the provision of consultancy services for the study and design of Yola-Makurdi navigational route Lot 2 for the dredging of the Benue River.

To improve the supply of power and guarantee better life of the people living at Nasarawa, Enugu, Kogi, Ondo and Jigawa states, the Council approved the construction of five sub-station projects at the total costs of $21.4 million plus €5.148 million, plus N3.676 billion.

All the contracts have a completion period of 24 months.

And determined to protect what it called the country’s sovereignty, the House of Representatives has urged President Goodluck Jonathan to halt the plan by the Executive Arm to bring in the World Bank officials to vet the procurement process before contracts are awarded in Nigeria.

Adopting a motion brought by Abiodun Abudu-Balogun and seconded by Friday Itula at plenary session yesterday, the House also urged the World Bank not to interfere in Nigeria’s public procurement system, pointing out that bringing the World financial body to vet Nigeria’s procurement process is tantamount to surrendering the country’s integrity and national pride.

Jonathan was reported to have allegedly granted an interview to a national daily in February in which he said that the Federal Government was planning to bring in World Bank officials to set up a desk office to vet and review public procurement before contracts were awarded in the country.

But leading the debate on the motion, Abudu-Balogun who expressed dismay at the development, pointed out that the move would be tantamount to a violation of the Public Procurement Act (PPA), adding that there is no section of the law, which according to him, made provision for extraneous party like World Bank to vet procurement contracts of a sovereign nation.

He said the Public Procurement Act 2007 established the National Council of Public Procurement (NCPP) and Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as the regulatory agencies responsible for the monitoring and oversight of public procurement, harmonising the existing government procedures and practices by regulating, setting standards and developing the legal frame-work and professional capacity for public procurement in Nigeria.

The motion was supported by Bashir Ahmed, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Victor Nwokolo, Ogbuefi Ozomgbachi, Betty Apiafi and Jumoke Okoya-Thomas.

However, frantic efforts by other lawmakers led by the Chairman, House Committee on Climate Change, Eziuche Ubani,  Eseme Eyibo, Godwin Elumelu Arunsi Arua, and Nady Karido for the Chamber to step down the motion to enable the relevant committee of the House to ascertain the veracity of the report was rejected by members in a voice vote during the session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Emeka Ihedioha.

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