The Lagos State Head of Service, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola, has enjoined the management of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (PPA) to take advantage of the newly signed Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (Amendment) 2021 Law, to make the process more inclusive, thereby encouraging increased compliance by stakeholders.
The Head of Service gave the charge while speaking at the opening ceremony of a three-day retreat organised for the members of the Governing Board of the Agency held at Protea Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.
Muri-Okunola also stressed the need to step up public enlightenment and advocacy campaigns to sensitise stakeholders and the general public on the changes in the Public Procurement Law and its implications on policies, programmes and implementation process. He added that the Monitoring, Enforcement and Compliance Department of the Agency must also be strengthened, just as he advocated a focused continuation of capacity building of Procurement Officers service-wide.
Pointing out that the Agency had made a significant difference “in ensuring that the State remains the Mecca of public procurement implementation and practice in Nigeria”, the Head of Service expressed hope that the newly appointed members of the Governing Board would bring their wealth of experience to bear on the work of the Agency, thereby enhancing its effectiveness in the discharge of its functions.
While noting that the commitment and dedication showed by the leadership of the Agency over the years was worthy of emulation, Muri-Okunola pledged his continued support, saying “I would like to assure members of the Governing Board and Management of the Agency of my commitment to the institutionalisation of the process and the continued support of my Office at all times”.
Also speaking at the event, the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, who is also the Commissioner for Finance in the State, Dr. Rabiu Onaolapo Olowo, promised that members of the Board would work in synergy with the management of the Agency to ensure continuous improvement in the procurement process and enhance the culture of due process in public procurement in the State.
Dr. Olowo noted that the State government is committed to taking the State to a higher level in the provision of infrastructural development that befits a 21st Century Economy, adding that this requires the Agency to play a leading role.
He, therefore, emphasised that the Agency must brace up for the challenge by developing innovative policies and programmes that would aid the delivery of infrastructural and social needs for the benefit of residents of the State now and in the near future.
The Governing Board Chairman expressed appreciation to Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu on behalf of the other members for finding them worthy of the appointment, promising that they would work hard to reposition the Agency for improved service delivery.
In a goodwill message delivered at the occasion, the Chairman, Lagos State House of Assembly Committee on Procurement, Mr. Rauf Olawale Sulaimon, stressed the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure sanity in public procurement in the State so that Lagos maintains its leading position in adherence to due process in public procurement among the States in the Federation.
Sulaimon urged the Agency to be properly guided by the law and its code of ethics and continue to encourage transparency, competitiveness, accountability and due process in the procurement process.
While noting that the Agency had performed well, especially in the deployment of e-procurement modules, the lawmaker declared that the State House of Assembly would always support the Agency to meet the requirements of the World Bank to enable the State qualify for assistance from the financial body.
He urged the State Government to build the capacity of procurement personnel of MDAs for a strong public procurement system that is comparable to what obtains in the western world.
Also speaking at the occasion, the Director-General of the Agency, Mr. Fatai Idowu Onafowote, pointed out that the present administration was committed to the institutionalisation of a sound public procurement regime, noting that this places a huge responsibility on the Agency to ensure that public procurement is perceived by stakeholders as the true panacea for dealing with the challenges in the sector.
He, therefore, pledged that the Agency would continue to work hard to assist the State Government in the delivery of goods and services to the people in a cost-effective and transparent manner.
Members of the Governing Board of the Agency are: Dr. Rabiu Onaolapo Olowo (Chairman), Mr. Samuel Egube, Mr. Moyosore Onigbanjo (SAN), Mr. Foluso Hakeem Mustapha, Mrs. Foluso Onabowale, Mr. Lanre Olusola and Mr. Fatai Idowu Onafowote (Director-General).