by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
The Plateau State Bureau of Public Procurement’s Director-General, Peter Dogo, has said the Bureau would continue to encourage citizens to look at their platforms, because, at their platforms, the Bureau now publicizes the projects that are awarded and the details.
According to him, “But for them to go and tell people that, “look, a project has started here,” – it is (rather) the duty of the ministry that is handling that project that should inform the citizens of that place or area. In our case, the Bureau now publicizes it to the entire citizens before localizing it, because if it is awarded and the contractor is taken to the site, the Bureau is no longer part of it.”
The DG was speaking to a group of journalists, called, ‘Winners Group’ that was trained by Accountability Lab Hackathon recently in Jos, Plateau State, and they are assigned to create awareness to the citizens on Procurement Processes in the State.
D-G Dogo said, “Going forward, I think there is a need for the various MDAs to inform the citizens that a project is being conceived or is about to be awarded or it has been awarded, and it is their duty to ensure that this man does everything because these are the details of the contracts; so going forward, we should be able to do this.
“So, we will now sensitize the various Ministries Department and Agencies of Government to ensure that once they have conceived and they are about to be awarded or, if it has been awarded. If they are taking the contract in the various sites, they should also inform citizens so that the citizens will be carried along, since they were carried along at the Budget Planning stage,” he noted.
He stressed that, “Hearing it on the news alone is not sufficient, or seeing it alone is not sufficient, because not all of them are educated to go on our website; but we still encourage the citizens to patronize our platforms – there is a lot of information there, a lot of data for them to go through, and it can help them, and our doors are always open.
“Ordinarily, as you may know, that procurement is not a one-man business, and since you go to those places, I would want to put on record that first projects are conceived by the Ministries Department and Agencies of Government and the same thing is being considered by the Local Government. So, it is the ministries that conceived these projects. First, it’s their project, but the needs are aggregated in those ministries,” he stated.
He further explained that, “Now, it constitutes the budget. The budget, before it’s been passed, it is a town hall meeting of all the stakeholders at those levels, either at the Local Government level or at the Senatorial level, which is being conducted by the Ministry for Budget and Economic Planning.
“It is their duty to sensitize members on what should go into the budget. Since it has gone into the budget and has been passed, it is the duty of each of those MDAs now to see that projects are executed according to the approval given in the budget.
“The Bureau of Public Procurement precisely ensures that the processes in which we procure these projects are followed. So, in this case, it starts with procurement planning. Now that the budget has been passed, each of those MDAs is supposed to go ahead and implement the budget, based on the availability of funds,” he said.
The D-G added that, “The Bureau for Public Procurement controls the processes of the award for them to go down and inform the citizens that this man is constructing this project in the form of a Town Hall Meeting; it’s not part of our mandate, but we have a platform in which these projects that are awarded are publicized.”
The Winners Group was expected to involve citizens in the Procurement Process in Plateau State, so as to create awareness among them in the procurement process, and to create synergy between the citizen and government on the procurement process and engagement with government officials and other relevant stakeholders.