A network of Civil Society organisations known as the Public Procurement Monitors Working Group (PPMWG) recently expressed its dissatisfaction with the lack of access to public procurement information.
The group noted that the situation has continued to impinge on the principles of openness, transparency and citizens’ engagement in public procurement.
The group registered its displeasure during the Procurement Monitoring Workshop held on 28 and 29 November 2016, in Abuja and organised by the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) as well as the Office of the Head of Service of the Federation with support from the UNDP.
The Procurement Monitors complained that public institutions have not been proactively publishing procurement information such as bid opening etc, thereby making it difficult for Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) to monitor the process. Specifically, the group noted that the Public procurement Act, 2007 gives a monitoring role to the CSOs adding that such a function cannot be effectively discharged without adequate information about the procurement processes.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Mr Ridwan Sulaimon of Media Rights Agenda, who is the secretary to the Working Group, called on the BPP to ensure that public institutions proactively disclose their procurement information including advertisement and calls for bidding; and that Civil Society Organisations working in the areas of transparency, accountability and access to information are adequately carried along in the procurement processes in accordance with the public Procurement Act.
The Group noted that complementary to the existing Freedom of Information regime, Nigeria has now joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP), a government and civil society collaboration, which will work to ensure that government records are open to the public by default in order to facilitate better citizens’ engagement and good governance.
The group therefore called on public institutions to put in more efforts in ensuring openness, transparency and proactive disclosure of procurement and all relevant public information to ensure the successful implementation of the OGP National Action Plan.