By 2000, the conduct of government business in Nigeria had become difficult and expensive due to widespread corruption, particularly procurement fraud. Although procurement fraud is one of the most common avenues of corruption in most countries, its incidence in Nigeria by 2000 was particularly widespread
The federal government noted the urgent need to reform the procurement process and bring about transparency in procurement procedures. In order to address the problem, the federal government in 2000 commissioned the World Bank to collaborate with some private sector specialists to study the financial systems and general procurement-related activities in the country. The essence of the request to the World Bank was to assist the government with a process of enthroning efficiency, accountability, integrity, and transparency in government procurement and financial management systems. The outcome of the study was the production of a Country Procurement Assessment Report (CPAR) 2000, which was a detailed diagnosis of the Nigerian procurement system and included both findings and recommendations (short- and medium-term). Some major weaknesses identified in the public procurement system in Nigeria were as follows:
Nigeria lacked a modern law on public procurement and permanent oversight and
monitoring of purchasing entities.
- The Finance (Control and Management) Act, 1958, together with Financial Regulations, which set basic rules for managing public expenditure, had gaps, deficiencies, and faulty implementation of existing regulations on procurement (e.g. lack of permanent arrangements for control and surveillance), which created opportunities for bribery and corruption.
Due to inflation and lack of regular adjustments on the thresholds of the approving
limits of the Tender Boards, their authorisations were constantly being eroded
resulting in abuses, prominent among which was the splitting of contracts.
There was proliferation of Tender Boards which were perceived by the private sector
as non-transparent and sources of delays. In addition, the Tender Boards appeared to
have limited mandates, with powers to decide contracts de facto resting with the
Permanent Secretary and the Minister/Commissioner.
Customs systems and procedures were cumbersome and major causes of delay in
clearing goods, and hence a source of corruption.
Procurement was often carried out by staff who substantially lack relevant training.
Consequent upon the Country Procurement Assessment Report, and prior to preparation of a bill for procurement reforms, the federal government moved to implement the recommendations of CPAR, to the extent possible prior to legislative reforms. The federal government set up the Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit (BMPIU) in June 2003 as an operationally independent body headed by a Senior Special Assistant to the President. The BMPIU was charged with the responsibility of serving as the clearing-house for all federal government contracts and procurements of goods and services, and functioned until commencement of implementation of the Public Procurement Act 2007.
The BMPIU operated under clear goals, objectives, and strategies. Its overriding goal was to put in place and ensure full compliance with laid down guidelines and procedures (produced by it) for the procurement of capital and minor capital projects as well as associated goods and services.
Its objectives were to:
Harmonise existing government policies/practices and update same on public
Determine whether or not due process has been observed in the procurement of
services and contracts.
Introduce more honesty, accountability, and transparency into the procurement
Establish and update pricing standards and benchmarks for all supplies to government.
Monitor the implementation of projects during execution with a view to providing
information on performance, output, and compliance with specifications and targets.
Ensure that only projects that have been budgeted for are admitted for execution.
The federal government introduced a ‘Due Process’ regime that informed the processes set out in the PPA (2007). These reforms have saved, and continue to save, the country more than ₦618 billion (more than US$3 billion) that could have been lost to inflated contracts or contracts for non-existent goods, works, and services. The Due Process regime and the
Other key achievements of the public procurement reform policy include:
The establishment of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) to oversee, regulate, and
monitor government procurement process.
Establishment of the Procurement Cadre within the federal public service.
Development and adoption of a code of ethics for public officers involved in
Development of a Procurement Manual and implementing regulations, as well as
Standard Bidding Documents (SBDs) and Standard Request for Proposals (SRFPs) for
the procurement of goods, works, and consultancy services. The SBDs and SRFPs
provide step-by-step processes that must be followed in contracting and provision of
procurement of works, goods, and consulting services in the country. The SBDs and
SRFPs have been approved by the World Bank for use on the Bank’s financed projects
since 22nd September 2011
Development of national database of the particulars, classification, and categorisation
of federal contractors and service providers, with a view to encouraging serious
business organisations to register and position themselves for competitiveness in
Translation of PPA (2007) into the three major Nigerian languages of Hausa, Igbo, and
Publication of details of all contracts awarded in the print media and Bureau’s website.
The development of a robust complaint/recourse mechanism, which allows aggrieved
parties in a procurement process to petition against procurement outcomes.
The wide applicability of the PPA in the federal public service. Thus, all federal and
state MDAs are subject to it.
The streamlining of Tender Boards and the strengthening of their functional authority,
including powers to award contracts.
Increased transparency, competition, integrity, best value, and efficiency in
Provision of a system of supplier remedies through administrative review of
Development of a debarment procedure whereby indicted firms are debarred from
participation in procurement activities.
Publication of Public Tenders Journal periodically as a means of reducing patronage in
the award of contracts.
Certification of completed government projects as a requirement before final
payments are effected.
The existence of a standard practice for all MDAs to base their annual procurement
budgets on verifiable need assessment.
- Regular and ad-hoc procurement audits of government agencies’ procurement activities to check for compliance with the law, regulations, and procedures.
Twenty-four states of the Federation have so far passed their own versions of the
Continuous capacity building programmes and hands on procurement skills training for
procurement officers and key actors involved in the public procurement process;
including conversion training for officers migrating to the established Public
Procurement Cadre in the Civil and Public Service
Continuous Capacity building of Non-State actors involved in procurement monitoring
activities and Anti Corruption Agencies
Supported the establishment of the Public Procurement Research Centre (PPRC) and
its training programmes at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri
Recent transfer of the responsibility for posting and transfer of officers in the
procurement cadre to the BPP
Establishment of a BPP procurement management system/ database with the support
Establishment of a National Public Procurement Forum which brings together the BPP
and Heads of Public Procurement Authorities in the States as a mechanism for
deepening procurement reform outcomes across the country.
Reference: Public Service Reforms in Nigeria (1999-2014) - A Comprehensive Review
Click to view Compendium