Permanent Secretaries Procurement Retreat and its Importance to the Nigerian Economy (An Overview of the Process)

Coat of arms

By Janet McDickson

Procurement is a process of acquiring goods and services and getting value for money in a competitive process.

The Bureau of Public Procurement, which was established under the Public Procurement Act 2007, is the regulatory authority responsible for the monitoring and oversight of Public Procurement, harmonizing the existing Government policies and practices by regulating, setting standards and developing the legal framework and professional capacity for public procurement in Nigeria.

The objectives of the Bureau of Public Procurement, amongst others are: The harmonisation of existing Government policies and practices on public procurement and ensuring probity, accountability and transparency in the procurement process, the establishment of pricing standards and benchmarks and ensuring the application of fair, competitive transparent standards and practices for the procurement and disposal of public assets and services etc.

To achieve the mandates and objectives above, the Bureau under the leadership of Mamman Ahmadu, Fellow Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (FNIQS) came out with some strategic strategies amongst which and not limited to is the Permanent Secretaries Retreat which takes place every year.

The retreat which is coordinated under the Department of Research, Training and Strategic Planning, headed by the Director, Mr. Adebowale Adedokun, with the approval of the Director General, Mamman Ahmadu, FNIQS meetings are held, discussions are made. An issue that seems to be some impediment to the progress of procurement in MDAs is brought out, topics of discussions at the retreat and possible solutions made.

With the collaboration and input from the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation under the able leadership of Dr. Mrs. Folashade Yemi-Esan, date and venue for the meeting are fixed as preparations are made. The Bureau sends out invitations to the Permanent Secretaries, Accountant General of the Federation, Auditor General for the Federation, the Governor of the host state, Chairman, Senate and House Committee on Procurement, the Resource persons and all participants to be present at the retreat are invited.

The retreat which is aimed at enlightening the old and new Permanent Secretaries on procurement matters, is one of the ways to keep MDAs abreast and on their toes on procurement matters as the Permanent Secretaries are made to understand the processes and new circulars on procurement broken down, to enable them appreciate their roles as Chairmen of Tender Boards in their organisations.

Day One of the retreat is arrival, registration and checking in of all participants.

Day Two is the opening ceremonywhere, the Director General Bureau of Public Procurement welcomes the participants, thereafter speeches are made, the host Governor welcomes all to the state. The Head of Civil Service of the Federation gives her remarks. The opening ceremony is fully covered by the media for broadcast.

The technical sessions commences, the resource persons lead the discussions in various topics as applied questions are discussed, questions are revised and answers proffered.

The Third Day is the continuation of the technical session. Participants are refreshed and recapped of the previous work done.

The sessions continue with discussions, questions and answers.

At the end of the day, resolutions are made and communique worked on. The Permanent Secretaries are enriched with more knowledge on Procurement procedures and ways on how to manage their organisations successfully.The night is treated with dinner.

Day Four is departure.

It will be noted however that, the procurement process is significant in the smooth running of any government and it is a big anti-corruption tool. The retreat of this magnitude, done once in a year for the calibre of officers needs to be desired.

To achieve President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s mandate of renewed hope, and as BPP strategies to achieve its mission and vision,the Federal Government is therefore, implored to give additional resources to the Bureau of Public Procurement to enable it continue to keep all stakeholders abreast with the procurement guidelines for a sustainable development and to enable the Bureau carry on its duties successfully.

Janet McDickson
DD, Information and PR/
Head, Public Relations and Protocol Unit– BPP