By Nimot Sulaimon
The Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola has commended Governor Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu for supporting the Lagos State Public Agency as well as MDAs in the discharge of their responsibilities to the public and working immensely towards achieving the successful implementation of the T.H.E.M.E.S. Agenda of the State.
The Head of Service gave the commendation today at the Annual General Meeting/Stakeholders’ Forum organised by the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, held at NECA House, Alausa, Ikeja.
He also commended the Agency for bringing sanity into public procurement in government and for enhancing the confidence of stakeholders and protecting the State Government’s integrity.
Okunola noting that the activities of the Agency have assisted in ensuring cost effectiveness, increased transparency and accountability in Government.
Mr. Muri-Okunola urged stakeholders to contribute useful opinions and ideas that could help the Agency in performing better than it is currently doing, adding that the stakeholders need to join hands with the State Government to evolve creative strategies that will put Government in a good stead to be able provide adequate public goods and services efficiently and in a sustainable manner.
He enjoined the leadership of the Agency to properly examine and review ideas that would be generated from the engagement with stakeholders which could be useful in the formulation and execution of the Agency’s policies, programmes and activities.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Chairman, Governing Board of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, Dr. Rabiu Olowo, who is also the Commissioner for Finance in the State,Dr. Olowo further stated that the Agency was fully committed to ensuring the policy on ease of doing business being championed by the Babajide Olusola Administration in the State, stressing that this was the reason why the Agency embarked on massive deployment of technology and automation of its procurement processes which has made it possible for the Agency to get contractors registered on its database within 48 hours of application.
While pointing out that the unique status of the State as the hub of commerce and enterprise in the West African sub-region had posed a serious challenge, he stated that this made it imperative for the State Government “to continue to innovate and develop creative strategies that will continuously enhance the ease of doing business and make the State a choice destination of investors from all parts of the world.”
He pledged the commitment of the members of the Governing Board and the management of the Agency to continue to work together conscientiously to enable the Agency continue to “faithfully discharge its statutory functions of ensuring transparency, accountability, competitiveness and due process, thereby ensuring value for money in public procurement in the State.
In his welcome address at the occasion, the Director- General of the Agency, Mr. Fatai Idowu Onafowote, noted that a good number of stakeholders have not only accepted the reality of embracing the public procurement process, but have also become advocates of due process in public procurement in the State, others are yet to come to terms with the change which the Agency is empowered by Law to bring into the procurement process” in the State.
The Director- General also disclosed that the Agency had onboarded a total of 56 Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the State Government on the e-procurement platform, adding that another 46 MDAs would also be integrated on the platform within the remaining two quarters of the current year as part of efforts aimed at enhancing transparency, openness, inclusiveness and the ease of doing business with the State Government.
Mr. Onafowote also disclosed that in line with its statutory mandate, the Agency carried out post procurement review of MDAs to ensure their compliance with due process in their procurement process while it also carried out inspection visit to project sites with a view to ensuring that contracts awarded to contractors are executed in line with the terms of reference, thereby ensuring value for money expended by the State Government.
He expressed appreciation to the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, the Speaker and members of the State House of Assembly, the Head of Service as well as the Accounting Officers of MDAs of the State for their support and cooperation with the Agency. He also commended other categories of stakeholders for working with the Agency which he said contributed immensely to the modest achievements recorded by the Agency so far possible.
Also in a goodwill message delivered by the Chairman, House Committee on Procurement of the Lagos State House of Assembly, Hon. Rauf Olawale Sulaimon, he urged stakeholders to familiarize themselves with the provisions of the Law.
Hon. Sulaimon further stated that since the Law is not static, stakeholders should proffer ideas which could further enhance public procurement system in the State.
The highpoint of the event was the unveiling of the Year 2020 Annual Report of the Agency by the Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola.