The Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, has declared that the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (PPA) raised the bar of excellence in the public procurement system, thereby enhancing compliance with the Public Procurement Law among service providers and other stakeholders.
The Head of Service made the declaration today while delivering a keynote address at the Year 2021 Annual General Meeting/Stakeholders’ Forum of the Agency held at the Central Business District, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
Muri-Okunola, who was represented at the occasion by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Temitope Sewanu Hundogan, also pointed out that the efforts of the Agency have boosted the confidence of service providers and other stakeholders to do business with the government and discharge their civic duties to the State.
He, however, noted that there is a need for the Agency to continue to improve its policies and processes, adding that stakeholders must, therefore, use the opportunity offered by the event to give necessary feedback and new insights on the public procurement process to enhance performance.
Also speaking at the event, Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, who is also Chairman of the Governing Board of the Agency, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, commended stakeholders for their support to the Agency, acknowledging their role in the process of enacting a new Procurement Law last year.
Represented at the occasion by the Accountant-General/Permanent Secretary, State Treasury Office, Dr. Abiodun Muritala, the Commissioner expressed the commitment of the Agency to implement the Procurement Law so that it would continue to serve the interest of service providers, the State Government as well as the general public.
The Chairman pointed out that despite some challenges, the administration of Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu would continue to identify and present opportunities for the benefit of the vast majority of the people of the State.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director-General of the Agency, Mr. Fatai Idowu Onafowote, disclosed that the Agency had onboarded a total of 107 Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the e-procurement platform, adding that integration of the remaining 61 MDAs and 57 Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas of the State on the platform has also been approved by Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu.
Onafowote also explained that the deployment of e-procurement modules to the procurement process of the State was in alignment with the government’s policy to continue deploying technology to conduct business for transparency, openness, accountability, and the integrity of the public procurement process.
While stressing the need for training and retraining, the Director-General stated that the Agency recently organised a training programme on Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS) and Google Sheets to enhance the knowledge of Procurement Officers in uploading procurement data online in the OCDS format.
He, therefore, enjoined service providers to also improve their computer skills so that they could continue to transact business with the State Government, warning that the era of paper documentation in public procurement was gradually coming to an end.
Also, in a goodwill message delivered at the occasion, the Honourable Chairman, House Committee on Procurement, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Rauf Olawale Age-Sulaimon, advised service providers and contractors to cultivate the habit of reading the Public Procurement Law of the State in order to remain conversant with its provisions.
The lawmaker also pointed out that the House increased the mobilisation fee payable to contractors from 20 to 40 percent of the contract sum so as to empower them to execute their contracts with ease.
During the ceremony, Mr. Age-Sulaimon also unveiled the Year 2021 Annual Report of the Procurement Agency, supported by dignitaries including the Director-General and Royal fathers who attended the ceremony.