From Teryima Ajijah, Jos
The Director General, Bureau of Public Procurement in Plateau State, Mr Peter Dogo, has said the agency is intensifying efforts in automating all government Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) as a means of ensuring efficient service delivery and accountability by government officials.
Mr Dogo stated this in Jos, on Tuesday at his office, during an interface with a group of journalists, who recently participated in a three-day workshop on tackling corruption in Plateau procurement processes.
The said workshop, organized by Accountability Lab Nigeria, a non governmental organization tracking procurement processes in Nigeria, brought together journalists and civil society to enlightening citizens on their rights on procurement processes, as a means of tacking corruption.
The DG, while interacting with the media said before the establishment of the bureau in the state year 2016, all procurement processes in the state were mere paperwork, therefore, hindered speedy procedures.
Mr Dogo revealed that currently, ministries of secondary education, works, health, and those of agriculture and rural development have been fully automated with ICT, therefore, making jobs at those ministries a lot easier, efficient and more transparent.
He also disclosed that two other ministries have been penciled down to be automated next year 2023, pointing out that a process of training staffers of the said ministries has already began.
Commenting on alleged project abandonment by successive state administrations, Dogo said the impression was wrong, because some projects have a long life span, therefore, should not be seen as abandoned projects by government.
He explained that a project could be tagged as abandoned when such a project stops appearing in the annual budget.
On the possibility of a government official to single handedly award any government contract without due process, the Dogo said it was impossible with the establishment of the bureau, because the entire process of award of contracts to anyone is followed diligently, before funds are released for any contractor.
According to him, every contractor bidding for any contract in Plateau State must be cross-checked to ascertain its viability and past experience as an authentic company paying its tax.
Speaking on challenges faced by the bureau, the director general noted that insufficient budgetary allocation was a major huddle.
Other challenges according to him, include, lack of manpower, lack of re-orientation of staff of the bureau, inadequacy of operational over-head funds, which he acknowledged was a general challenge in the state at the moment; due to dwindling economy.