The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) at the weekend, invited the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), and Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) to build the capacity of its staff to follow due process in line with extant regulations in the management of financial obligations and procurement.
The Agency’s Managing Directors/Chief Executives from the 10 research and development (R&D’s) Institutes and top management staff whose duties directly relate to procurement and financial operations and other Principal Officers in NASENI system-wide gathered for a two- day training session at Zuma Rock Resort, Zuba Niger state.
The training on procurement capacity building with the theme: “Strengthening Procurement Process in NASENI System Wide,” examined some of the pitfalls surrounding procurement procedures, rules and regulations, including the common practices which made procurement officers acted contrary to the laws and the accompanying punishments.
The Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Engr. Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, who authorised the training, during the opening ceremony, said “the training was to ensure that extra care would be taken in carrying out procurement activities in the Agency and also to update concerned officers on the need to follow procedures on procurement laws to get value for the money spent on any given project by the federal government.”
Prof Haruna said, “With our new status of being supervised by the President of the country directly, we know that extra care is needed. We are taking this caution, most especially, because before now we were operating without funds and now that funds had been given to us, there is need to cross check again which new measures are needed for effective service delivery.”
He said the Agency had undergone several transformations recently, including training and retraining of staff on special needs to ensure that the management and staff of NASENI were on top of their games and that whatever staff did would be in line with the best practices.
In his goodwill message at the opening ceremony, the Auditor- General of the Federation, Mr. Adolphus Aghughu, enjoined NASENI to maintain the highest level of transparency, accountability and fiscal discipline in public procurement, saying these were the main reasons why the laws on public procurement were enacted in 2007.
The Auditor-General, who was represented by Alhaji Salawu Apoti said “transparency is anchored on honesty, integrity, exemplary leadership, absence of hypocrisy and financial moral rectitude and by extension transparency leads to accountability which requires being answerable and responsible for one’s actions.”
While wishing the participants a fruitful deliberation, he charged them to stay with Mr. President’s message and to keep the conversation that ” Change Begins with Me” and that it is the only way to collectively enthrone transparency, accountability and fiscal discipline in public procurement.
In his goodwill message, the Chairman of ICPC, Prof. Bolaji Owasanoye, SAN, who was represented by Senator Anthony Agbor, said the effects of corruption manifesting in both private and public sectors remain a threat to the nation’s democracy, political stability, economic and social wellbeing.
In his keynote address, the Director General of BPP, Mr. Mamma Ahmadu, who was represented by Engr. Babatunde Kuye, commended the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI for his achievements in championing advancement of science and technology in the country, saying that the whole idea of due process was to avoid wrong doings and not to catch people for wrong doing.
“For the fact that NASENI was interested in following due process in all its procurement dealings, it showed that the Agency is willing to embrace transparency and accountability in service delivery,” he said.