The collaborative efforts between the Edo State Government and the European Union’s sponsored Rule of Law and Anti-corruption Programme (RoLAC) in the development of e-procurement in the state, has been described as a veritable instrument needed to achieve transparency and accountability in government.
The general manager Edo State Public Procurement Agency, Henry Idogu said at the sideline of the dissemination learning and close out event in Benin City.
Idogu said that RoLAC’s areas of intervention in the state which include reforming public procurement and practices including the adaptation of price intelligence module in public procurement in Edo are vital to achieving a more efficient and effective service oriented governance.
RoLAC, he said, has in the course of its intervention in Edo, assisted the state to prepare its new public procurement law which is rated as one of the best in the sub region, in addition to building the capacity of procurement officers to equip them with up to date public procurement ways and practices.
Other areas the agency assisted the state, Idogu added, include the training of relevant personnel including the media on procurement monitoring, development of working tools that have assisted the state to increase its efficiency with regard to public procurement.
While expressing regret over the close of the pilot phase of RoLAC’s intervention in the state, Idogu expressed optimism that given the records of achievements by Edo in the partnership, RoLAC would consider partnering with the state in the impending second phase of programme in Nigeria.
“We are sure Edo State will be part of RoLAC 2, (the second phase of the programme), because of our own contributions; you have to provide the enabling environment for intervention agency to come in. As a participating state, Edo has done a lot.
“The state has done very well with the support of the government in setting up some infrastructure for RoLAC to come and work. RoLAC for now does not set up infrastructure, they train personnel, because they found Edo to be a very fertile ground where they can work, that’s why we’re hoping that more will be achieved when they come back on the second phase of the programme,”
“We want them to assist us in the area of price intelligence. As a government, we are also looking for ways to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people with the meagre resources available to government, so price intelligence will help us to have value for money and reduce cost.
“The world is going digital, we would want them to train our officers on e procurement where you can stay anywhere in the world and win contract from Edo State Government. We are piloting this e-procurement in some MDAs. We would like to extend it to more MDAs and we’ve not been able to do that because of paucity of funds due to competing needs.
“If RoLAC can come back and help us expand e-procurement drive, it will be very good for the government, the contractors and the citizenry”, Idogu explained.
RoLAC has been involved in many activities in Edo State. Beyond helping the state to improve on its procurement practices, it has also intervened in criminal justice reforms which include access to justice for women, children and person with disabilities, strengthening the anti corruption agencies in order to advance anti corruption efforts in Edo State and promote good governance.