The Lagos State Head of Service, 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.
He made this statement Thursday in his keynote address at the Year 2021 Annual General Meeting/Stakeholders’ Forum of the Agency which held at the Central Business District, Alausa in Ikeja area of the state.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Mr. Temitope Hundogan, the head of service 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, highlighted the need for the Agency to continue to improve its policies and processes.
According to Muri-Okunola, stakeholders must use the opportunity offered by the event to give necessary feedback and new insights on the public procurement process to enhance performance.
On his part, the Lagos State Commissioner for Finance and Chairman of the Governing Board of the Agency, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, commended the stakeholders for their support to the Agency, as he acknowledged their role in the process of enacting a new Procurement Law last year.
Represented by the Accountant-General and 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 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 Onafowote, disclosed that the Agency had onboarded a total of 107 Ministries, Departments and Agencies on the e-procurement platform.
He added that the State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has approved the integration of the remaining 61 MDAs and 57 Local Governments/Local Council Development Areas of the State on the platform.
The DG 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 Onafowote hinted 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, implored 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.
Meanwhile, in his goodwill message, the Chairman, House Committee on Procurement, Lagos State House of Assembly, Mr. Rauf Age-Sulaimon, enjoined service providers and contractors to cultivate the habit of reading the Public Procurement Law of the state to be conversant with its provisions.
The lawmaker, also, highlighted that the House increased the mobilisation fee payable to contractors from 20 to 40 per cent of the contract sum as efforts to empower them to execute their contracts with ease.