Posting Racketeering: Tension In National Centre for Women Development Over Displacement Of Procurement Officers

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Daily Metro News NG

There is growing tension in Maryam Babangida National Centre for Women Development, Abuja, over an attempt to use unskilled officers who have been growing in other cadre of service to man the Procurement Unit.

It was gathered by our Correspondent that the brewing tension unsettling the Centre is not unconnected with the plot by the Director-General of the Centre to displace career officers in the Procurement Unit, and replace them with untrained civil  servant who is not a procurement practitioner and whose records are not domicile with the Procurement Bureau. The Centre staff are unsettled because the move is in contravention of Circular Ref. No. 59780/S.VT.V117 issued by the Office of the Secretary to Government of the Federation on 14th June,  2007.

The Circular is titled: Prohibition of Officers on Other Cadres From Procurement Functions Where Career Procurement officers Are Available.

According to the Circular, 
untrained officers are not allowed to take up the responsibilities of trained Procurement Officers.

“Since the establishment of the Procurement Officer Cadre and Procurement Department in all Federal Ministries,  Departments and Agencies (MDAs) vide Office of the Head of the Civil Service of the Federation (OHCSF) Circular Ref. Nos. HCSF/685/124, HCSF/PSO/155/1/3 and HCSF/PSO/155/1/125 of 4th February, 2007, 31st March, 2008 and 9th June, 2008 respectively,  the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) has been conducting intensive training and certification programme to convert officers into the Procurement Officers Cadre.

“It has however,  been observed that after approval by the Accounting Officers for their staff to undergo the conversion training programme organised by the BPP, some of these officers are still not converted from their previous cadre by the Head of their MDAs after successfully passing the examination and in some instances those that are eventually converted are not posted to the Procurement/Unit to function as Procurement Officers.

“It is equally worrisome to Government that staff from other Cadres are posted to Procurement Department/Units to replace Procurement Officers and to replace Procurement Officers and to carry out Procurement functions in violation of Public Service Rule (PSR), which prohibits the posting of officers outside their professional cadres.

“Consequently,  it has been observed with dismay that, the use of unqualified and untrained personnel to conduct procurement functions is one of the major functions that has contributed to the inability of several MDAs to effectively comply with the Public Procurement Act, 2007 when implementing their projects.

“Such lapses have resulted lapses in avoidable petitions by bidders which delay procurement proceedings, increase procurement-related court cases and contributed to poor budget implementation . This will no longer be tolerated by Government”, it quoted.

It was gathered that Heads of MDAs violate the letters of the Circular which is at variance with the Public Procurement Act 2007, in order to perpetrate fraud, and syphon money in their personal interest.

The preponderance of opinion is that unless the development is nipped in the bud, it is capable of creating chaos in the Centre, and cast aspersion to the anti-corruption drive of the President Bola Tinubu-led administration.

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