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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Open Contracting: PPDC, MRA urge FG on full implementation -ITREALMS

The Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) and Media Rights Agenda (MRA) have called on the Federal Government to ensure full implementation of Open Contracting in Nigeria, reports ITREALMS.

They also pointed out on such issues like procurement records and information are proactively disclosed by public institutions in line with the Open Contracting data standards and the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act, 2011.

In a press briefing in Abuja, the organisations observed that although Nigeria joined the Open Government Partnership (OGP) as the 70th member in 2016 and had the full implementation of open contracting as one of its commitments in its first National Action Plan (NAP), which lapsed in June this year, accessing basic contract information and records remained a challenge for members of the public, including civil society representatives and media practitioners.

According to Ms Gift Maxwell, PPDC’s Programme Manager, “PPDC and MRA have been implementing the Nigerian component of a project on ‘Strengthening Disclosure and Citizen Participation to Improve Value for Money in Public Contracting in Africa’, managed by the Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC) in Kampala, Uganda, with support from the Hewlett Foundation, and we are worried at the level of impunity by public officials who continue to prevent members of the public from accessing procurement and contracting information.”

MRA’s FOI programme Manager, Mr Ridwan Sulaimon further argued that:“Although, as part of its obligation under the Public Procurement Act, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) developed the Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO) which is expected to feed the public with procurement information from the public institutions, showing records of contracts from planning to implementation stages, however, the Federal Government must as a matter of urgency ensure that the institutions proactively publish their procurement and contracting data on the platform to ensure that it justifies its essence.”

Ms Maxwell said PPDC and MRA have worked tirelessly to realise the goal of institutionalising Open Contracting in Nigeria.

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