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Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, OON giving his statement at the meeting
The New State House Auditorium at the Presidential Villa in Abuja on Wednesday, 11 December 2013 overflowed with human population beyond its capacity when over 400 civil servants with procurement functions, made up of procurement officers from grade level 7 to 17, gathered for a crucial meeting.
The Head of the Civil Service of the Federation, Alhaji Bukar Goni Aji, OON, and Director General of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Engr. Emeka M. Ezeh, OFR, had headed straight from the Federal Executive Council meeting to officiate the forum, whose objective was to address concerns arising from the recent policy changes relevant to their career aspirations.
The ongoing reform in the nation’s public procurement system is generating interest, sometimes anxiety, among the rank and file of procurement operatives, vis-à-vis the central role of BPP in the management of the careers of procurement officers.
There have been petitions by aggrieved officers and, notably, sponsored newspaper reports rubbishing the implementation of the reforms.
However, the Public Procurement Act, 2007 is clear on BPP’s role. Under Part II, Section 5 (k) of the Act, BPP is required to “organize training and development programmes for procurement professionals.”
The Federal Government has been committed to the implementation of this aspect of the Act. On 19 March 2009, the late President Umar Musa YarÁdua gave approval for Procurement Officers to be brought under the purview of the BPP.
President Jonathan has also endorsed the ongoing reform of the public procurement system as part of the restructuring of the Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation.
On 18 July this year, the HoS asked BPP to commence the process of managing and handling the mobility of Procurement Officers.
The 11 December meeting was part of the efforts to assure procurement officers in the mainstream Federal Civil Service that the development is in their interest. Both HoS and DG, BPP clarified issues resulting from these changes, vis-à-vis their implications for the career management of the affected officers within the cadre.
As the HoS and the BPP DG explained the implications of the reform for their careers, and clarified issues resulting from the unfolding changes, the audience ceaselessly applauded.
Participants registering to participate at the meeting
A cross section of participants at the meeting
DG, BPP, Engr. Emeka M. Ezeh, giving the welcome remarks at the meeting
Question and answer session. A Procurement Officer seeks clarification on an issue