The House of Representatives on Thursday, accused the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), of ineffectively handling its mandate of conducting procurement audits of government agencies.
The House Committee on Procurement, during its 2021 budget defence session for the BPP, noted with dismay, that out of over 800 agencies of government, only 32 have been audited in the past four years.
The Committee disclosed that in line with the establishing Act of the BPP, the procurement audit reports of every agency ought to reach the National Assembly at least once in a year.
It said in spite of the humongous yearly budgetary provisions for the purpose, the Bureau has failed to utilize the funds for the purpose.
The committee frowned that the Bureau during its 2020 budget performance was unable to produce procurement audit reports to guide the proceedings ahead of the 2021 appropriation exercise.
It accused the Bureau of engaging in frivolous activities rather than concentrate on those of Surveillance, Monitoring and Evaluation and Supervision of all agencies of government to ensure compliance with public procurement, which comprised its core mandate.
Rather, it said the BPP was engaging in sporting activities, buying of computers and softwares, unnecessary local and international travels, as well as unfruitful money spinning training programmes for staff, in spite of evidences that most of its works were handled by consultants.
The committee directed the BPP to with immediate effect ensure that procurement audit reports covering four years from 2016 to 2019, were made available to it, and that henceforth, the reports must be made available as required by law.
It worried that the period of this failure covered from inception of the administration of the present Director General, (DG) , Mamman Ahmadu till date.
“We are shocked as a committee that we dontveven have materials to work with”, Hon Ossai Nicholas Ossai, a member of the committee lamented.
They insisted that a technical committee must be set up investigate the application of all budgeted funds to the BPP since 2016, demanding also that the DG submits all audit reports from 2016 to 2019 before end of the year.
They held that the action of the DG not conducting procurement audits of the agencies was a clear infraction of the law, which must not be tolerated.
The committee asked the DG if his Bureau received capital appropriation for procurement audits since 2016 to 2019, but the DG and his team claimed they were not sure.
In a bit to defend himself, the DG told the committee that procurement audit exercises were ongoing by different agencies of government.
“We have engaged some consultants to carry out audit. We have our own way of carrying out audit”, Ahmadu said.
He assured that he would make available detailed reports to the committee, pleading with the committee for understanding and good working relationship.
In presenting his agency’s 2021 budget estimate of almost N1.5billion, the DG told the committee that he was again, looking for N100million for computers and computer softwares, as against N70 million it got in 2020.
The committee was worried that in spite of the huge budgetary provisions for Information Communication Technology (ICT) to the agency, it was still seeking huge amounts for local and international travels, amid the gains that COVID 19 pandemic brought.
The agency also sought N12million for sporting activities, with members worrying what a procurement agency needed to do with such an amount in the name of sports.
However, the budget was approved by the committee presided by its Chairman, Nasir Ahmed, following request by members that to take the 2021 budget as submitted.