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Adamawa Assembly moves to weaken procurement law guarding against corruption

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By Padio Phineas
THE procurement law in Adamawa State may be compromised if the move to alter the state’s Bureau of Public Procurement Law goes through.
Currently, the Adamawa State House of Assembly is in the process of amending the procurement law to give executive powers to political appointees, as against global best practice approved by the World Bank.
A bill seeking to empower the chairman of the board, who is a mere political appointee, has scaled the second reading, and is expected to be passed anytime soon.
If the alteration eventually takes effect, the procurement bureau becomes what experts refer to as a toothless bulldog.
Alarmed by the move, a Consultant Abdul Mamman has warned against the move to alter the Adamawa State Bureau of Public Procurement Law 2020.
Mamman disclosed that if the bill before the state Assembly seeking to amend critical sections of the law sailed through, the state would become discredited by the World Bank.
He noted that the state stood to lose $2.5 million grant from the World Bank, given under financial transparency and accountability.
It is an executive bill, sponsored by the Majority Leader of the Adamawa State House of Assembly Hamantukur Yettisuiri, and it scaled the second reading last week.
However, experts say the move is opposed to global best practices and can pave the way for corruption and theft. It is further believed that the move will undermine open contract policy.
Under the current law, Section (5) provides that all members of the board, other than the director general would be appointed on part-time basis.
The  appointment as DG of the bureau is based on competence as only a professional with procurement competence can apply and scale through.
However, if the section gets altered as proposed, the chairman of the board, a mere political appointee, assumes executive powers.
The implication is that the chairman, and not the DG, becomes the custodian of the bureau’s seal and can issue certificate of no objection at the beckoning of his/her benefactors.
Speaking further, Mamman, who is a member of the committee on procurement law, under World Bank supervision, said the action would rubbish the credibility of the state.
He said, “the present law is a research work put up by experts under the supervision of World Bank for Nigeria’s Bureau of Public Procurement and it was replicated in all the states in the country.
“Part 1 section 3 of the law clearly states that the chairman of the board shall be appointed by the state governor on a part-time basis.
“I was part of the team that worked out the two volume-document that brought out the law in the country in 2020 after 10 months of thorough work approved by the World Bank.
“It is as a result of this that the World Bank has given grants to states that have developed programmes that conform to standard and Adamawa State Bureau of Public Procurement is one of the leading states.
“Section 9, Subsection 1, 2,3a and b of the Procurement Law clearly defines the duties of the director general of the Bureau while Section 5 also states that the board chairman and members are appointed for four-year tenure on part-time basis.
“For transparency and accountability, the board chairman and board members cannot be policy formulators and implementations at the same time.
“Should Adamawa State House of Assembly go ahead to amend the law to suit the political class as against global best practices, then the state will also lose their chance of attracting World Bank grant, particularly $2.5m, that is almost due to the state after needs assessment and proper procurement procedure were followed,” he said.
He counseled the government of Adamawa State to desist from the planned alteration.
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