The Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, has declared that the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (PPA) has “further raised the bar of excellence in the public procurement system of the State, thereby enhancing compliance to the Public Procurement Law among service providers and other stakeholders”.
The Head of Service made the declaration today while delivering a keynote address at the Year 2022 Annual General Meeting/Stakeholders’ Forum of the Agency which was held at the Central Business District, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
The Head of Service, who was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Hundogan Temitope Sewanu, also pointed out that the efforts of the Agency have boosted the confidence of service providers and other stakeholders to do business with the State Government and discharge their civic duties to the State.
Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, however, noted that there was the need for the Agency to continue to improve its policies and processes, adding that stakeholders must, therefore, use the opportunity offered by the event to give the Agency necessary feedback and new insights on the public procurement process to assist the Agency to further improve the process.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Agency, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, commended stakeholders for their support to the Agency, adding that it was in recognition of the important role being played by stakeholders that the Agency had to enact a new Procurement Law last year due to popular demand.
Dr. Olowo expressed the commitment of the Agency to the “conscientious implementation of the Procurement Law so that the Law could continue to serve the interest of service providers, the State Government as well as the general public”.
While noting that just as there are immense opportunities in the State, the Chairman pointed out that the challenges are also enormous, adding that as a responsible and responsive government, the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would continue to convert the challenges into opportunities for the benefit of the vast majority of the people of the State.
He urged stakeholders to continue to give the Agency useful suggestions and ideas “that could further enhance the ease of doing business and hasten the drive towards the attainment of the 21st Century Economy status being vigorously pursued by the present Administration in the State”.
The Chairman of the Governing Board, who is also the Commissioner for Finance in the State, was represented at the occasion by the Accountant-General/Permanent Secretary, State Treasury Office, Dr. Abiodun Muritala.
In his welcome address, the Director-General of the Agency, Mr. Fatai Idowu Onafowote, stated that the Agency had onboarded a total of 107 Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the e-procurement platform, adding that the integration of the remaining 61 MDAs and 57 Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas of the State on the platform this year had also been approved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Mr. Onafowote also explained that the deployment of e-procurement modules to the procurement process of the State was in alignment with the policy of the State Government to continue to deploy technology as the chief driver for conducting Government’s business, stressing that this would enhance transparency, openness, accountability and the integrity of the public procurement process in the State.
While stressing the need for training and retraining, the Director-General stated that the Agency recently organised a training programme on Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) and Google Sheets to enhance the knowledge of Procurement Officers in uploading procurement data online in the OCDS format.
He, therefore, enjoined service providers to also improve their computer skills so that they could continue to transact business with the State Government, warning that the era of paper documentation in public procurement was “gradually coming to an end”.
Also, in a goodwill message delivered at the occasion, the Chairman, House Committee on Procurement of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Rauf Olawale Age-Sulaimon, advised service providers and contractors to cultivate the habit of reading the Public Procurement Law of the State to enable them to be more conversant with the provisions of the Law.
The lawmaker also pointed out that the House increased the mobilization fee payable to contractors from 20 per cent to 40 per cent of the contract sum so as to empower them to execute their contracts with ease.
The high point of the event was the unveiling of the Year 2021 Annual Report of the Agency by the Chairman, House Committee on Procurement, Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Rauf Olawale Age-Sulaimon was supported by other dignitaries, including the Director-General and royal fathers who attended the ceremony.