House of Representatives decries gross underfunding of the BPP, assures management of its support to boost Bureau’s funding to ensure effective realisation of its mandate to the country
The House Committee on Public Procurement on Tuesday queried the Bureau for Public Procurement (BPP) for proposing the sum of N67 million and N129 million for local training.
The Nasir Ali Ahmed-led Committee also expressed concern that an agency as the BPP which is critical to the country’s development is allocated a paltry sum of N58 million for capital projects in the 2023 budget.
Chairman and other members of the Committee stated their concerns when BPP’s Director-General (DG), Mamman Ahmadu and members of his team appeared before them to defend the 2023 Budget Proposals. Rep. Ahmed who decried the gross underfunding of the Bureau also wondered why a paltry sum of N28 million was allocated to it in the 2022 budget for surveillance and monitoring of over 1000 projects across the country.
He charged the Bureau’s Director-general to make a strong case for increased budgetary allocation to it, assuring that the committee will meet its counterparts in the Senate to find ways of tackling the issue in ongoing appropriation exercise.
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“The capital allocation for BPP which is N58 million, the DG we are just complaining about the meager amount that was allocated to the BPP for capital expenditure. I believe that for the economic growth of any country, it must have the procurement processes well planned. Now with N58 million as the capital for the 2023 budget for BPP; I really don’t understand how the agency that is very important to the economic and structural growth of this country can be allocated just a mere amount of N58 million.
We just complained about N28 million not being enough for surveillance and monitoring of projects. Now, the capital budget has been cut down from last year from N197 million to N58 million in 2023. It is something I believe we should look at it as a Committee because it does not make sense. The agency is underfunded, it’s enough for the DG to come and sit down with the committee and make a case for it,” the lawmaker said.
The Committee Chairman further assured that the lawmakers will sit with both the Senate and leadership of both chambers to see what can be done.
“I can assure you the only losers in a situation an agency like this is underfunded is Nigeria as a whole. It is not the agency but it is Nigeria and Nigeria as a whole. In essence, Mr DG, what the Committee is saying, which I strongly agree with, is that you have to make a case. Even though you are working within an envelope system, the onus is on you to make that case.
You can not run an agency as big as yours with all the work that you need to do with N58 million unless you are getting some major interventions. We have to sit down and liaise with you to see how we can change this for the better.”
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In his contribution, Rep. Benjamin Kalu, Spokesperson of the Chamber stated that while the committee was worried, Ahmadu seemed to be unperturbed. He was thus urged to buckle up and take steps to boost funding of the agency to effectively realise its mandate to the country.
“DG we are worried but I’m not seeing you worried. You are relaxed with N58 million. Do you have an IGR (Internally Generated Revenue)? You have to be meeting relevant stakeholders, including this committee. What is the essence of you staying there and supervising the contracts that run into millions and you are not comfortable enough to monitor them?
You are removing a fundamental mandate from your budget – Project Monitoring and Procurement Audit. You have reduced the amount from last year to this year coming down to such a paltry sum that will not allow you to achieve the mandate for which you were set up. You should be concerned as the driver of this bureau that the money is too paltry a sum,” the House Spokesperson noted.
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Earlier in its presentation, the BPP Boss told the lawmakers that the projected total sum of N1.7 billion was earmarked for the agency in the 2023 financial year out of which N58 million was allocated to capital expenditure.
He said: “A budget ceiling of N58 million was given to the Bureau as capital votes. The capital allocation was prioritised to the two-minded (projects) to the Bureau as follows: Completion of the electronic government procurement system, upgrade and deployment of a national database of contractors. The projected total sum of N1.7 billion is earmarked for the 2023 financial year.”
Responding to questions on the performance of the 2022 budget, Ahmadu said: “The ministry of finance has been very kind to us, we normally go to them and they’re willing to support us. The N97 million release is above the general average.
N28 million is not sufficient but we have an envelope in our choice of priority, we will do our best. Is not all the projects that we carry out surveillance on, we have random selection of projects. We are able to perform within limit of the resources…we have been working hard to deliver on our mandate, we are committed and we will do all we can.”