By Tony Obiechina, ABUJA
The Efficiency Unit of the Federal Ministry of Finance and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) have created the Price Checker Platform to allow for uniformity in procurement across ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) . The Price Checker is a web based platform for vendors of non-customised goods to upload the prices of their goods for use by all MDAs and governments in their public procurement process.
Speaking at a sensitisation programme on Price Checker and e-Procurement jointly organised by the Efficiency Unit and BPP, Head of Regulation and Database Department of BPP, Mr. Aliyu Aliyu said “Price Checker is a platform that will allow product vendors to upload their prices so that our procurement will be more transparent such that government should not spend money on expensive items”.
According to him, Price Checker platform became inevitable with the introduction of GIFMIS which revealed serious disparity in rate of procurement among MDAs.
“This way everybody will have idea of what prices are and when we publish procurement record, anybody can check and raise concerns.
“By the time we do a review of an agency’s procurement and discovered that you purchased items far higher than what was the trend at a particular time, you will get a query or we asked EFCC to visit you. The price checker is just a check to ensure efficiency. We are aware that prices cannot be exactly the same but they should not be unreasonably higher”, Aliyu explained.
He however, assured that the Public Procurement Act has already taken care of suppliers of their interest in cases of payment delays.
“The system is not expected to procure and not pay suppliers promptly. There is the delay payment clause in the public procurement Act where after 60 days of supply, government ought to pay interest on delays.
“With that clause invoked, we expect that we don’t give contracts when there is no money to pay for it. There is a punitive clause in the public procurement Act whereby after 60 days without payment, a contractor or supplier can invoke”, he added.
Speaking earlier Head of Efficiency Unit, Mr. Ojonimi Imaji noted that governments at all levels are facing paucity of funds in discharge of their constitutional responsibilities as they are webbed by heavy financial burden.
“This has made government to become inquisitive to explore and use all relevant avenues that will allow for transparency in its transactions and to have an improved revenue generation to be able to fund critical projects and programmes that will be beneficial to citizens”, he stated.