By Lucy Ogalue
The Federal Government has inaugurated a procurement integrity and transparency training partnership initiative that will ensure integrity and transparency in procurement processes in the country.
The second Deputy President of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Prof. Adesoji Adesugba, inaugurated the initiative on Thursday in Abuja.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the partnership is between the chamber and the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences (ICPC).
According to Adesugba, the initiative stems from past corrupt practices within procurement and related business dealings involving vendors and suppliers at different levels.
“Given the prevalent unethical practices in procurement processes, this event aims to lay the ground work for nationwide awareness campaigns on integrity and transparency.
“It also marks the prelude to a comprehensive training programme scheduled for ICPC vendors later this month, generously supported by the Centre for International Private Enterprise (CIPE),” Adesugba said.
He said that the chamber currently operated four specialised centres alongside the secretariat.
He listed the centres to include the Abuja Trade Centre, Business Entrepreneurial Skills and Technology (BEST) Centre, Policy Advocacy Centre (PAC) and Dispute Resolution Centre (DRC).
He said: “each Centre contributes significantly to the chamber’s overarching mission of developing the Nigerian economy.
“The BEST centre, in collaboration with the lCIPE, has been actively involved in promoting business integrity and accountability through various training and sensitisation programmes, one of which brings us together today,” Adesugba said.
The Director-General for ACCI, Victoria Akai, said that the programme was to sensitise the public and private sector on the importance of ethical procurement and business practices.
According to Akai, the programme will encourage issues around open government, standards procurement practices and institutional strengthening.
“We intend to achieve compliance in public institutions so that they can see the importance of complying with the standards of procurement practices that have been established.
“And to the private sector also to comply with the ethics and accountability for us to run a stronger institution in the country,” Akai said.
The Head of Procurement of ICPC, Mr Shintema Binga, said that the programme was important to all procurement vendors.
“We feel there is some lack of integrity that is displayed sometimes in the procurement process, so our partners at ACCI and CIPE decided to sensitise them to wake up their business integrity to come up to date,”
He said that ICPC followed due process, evaluation and due diligence by tracing the information given by the bidder to be sure of whom they are dealing with if the person was qualified or not.
Meanwhile, the Country Director of CIPE, Lola Adekanye, said CIPE was a democratic organisation that supported a free market or competitive market in democratic institutions around the world.
“We are here for business integrity, and business ethics are fundamental to a competitive market, to democracy anywhere in the world, and today we are inaugurating a good collaboration between the ICPC and ACCI,
“In the past, we thought that corruption was an issue and that the public sector had all the responsibility to reduce it, but today, we know that business has a role in curbing corruption.
“We are pushing to strengthen the values that make us resilient against corruption. There is no society without corruption, and many factors make corruption increase or reduce,” Adekanye said.
Adekanye said that the country lacked strong accountability mechanisms and adherence to ethics principles, which was the area they were trying to strengthen.
“We are trying to create a constructive business environment so that wherever corruption comes from, the business environment is strong enough to withstand it,” she said. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Ese E. Eniola Williams