The Nigeria Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI) is set to establish an Open Contracting Data Standard platform for procurement of goods and services.
The online platform is to provide comprehensive public information and disclosure on all procurement opportunities and contracting information by NEITI to the general public.
This decision by NEITI is consistent with President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to agreements reached at the Anti-Corruption Summit held in London in 2016.
At the Summit, President Buhari had declared; “We will work towards full implementation of the principles of the Open Contracting Data Standard, focusing on major projects as an early priority. We will apply the Open Contracting Data Standard to the following major projects; Development of Refineries in the oil Sector; Building of Health Centres and Improvement of Health Services; Building of Roads and other Infrastructures; Building of Schools and Improving Transparency in the Management of Education Funds and Investment in the Power Sector.’’
To cement the partnership between NEITI and Public Private Development Centre (PPDC), a non-governmental organisation, on the implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standard, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) has been signed.
The Executive Secretary of NEITI, Waziri Adio endorsed the Memorandum of Understanding on behalf of the Agency while Seember Nyager, the Chief Executive Officer of PPDC signed on behalf of her organisation.
Endorsing the agreement, the Executive Secretary, Mr. Waziri Adio expressed delight that NEITI has become the first federal government agency to fully embrace the Open Contracting Data Standard in line with the Public Procurement Act and bidding regulations of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP).
Ms Nyager of the PPDC welcomed the partnership between NEITI and her organisation in promoting an open, accountable, competitive procurement process to ensure efficiency and value for money in the procurement of goods, works and services.
The online platform (Open Contracting Data Standard) is to be hosted as a portal on the NEITI website and will have a feedback component aimed at promoting transparency, accountability and value for money in public transactions.
The platform will enable NEITI to provide regular information and data to the public on all procurement opportunities, contracting processes and requirements.
The development is coming on the heels of the recent ranking of NEITI by the Bureau of Public Service Reforms (BPSR) as one of the few Federal Government Agencies making significant strides in good corporate governance using the BPSR self-assessment tool for measurement.
The reform tools where NEITI ranked very high include integrity of its procurement process, corporate governance, change management, understanding and clarity of mandate, corporate strategy, performance and the ability of NEITI to align its plan and mandate with available resources in the discharge of its responsibilities.
As part of efforts to fully embrace corporate governance, NEITI recently unveiled a special portal to deepen its implementation of the Freedom of Information Act.
At the event the Executive Secretary, Waziri Adio remarked that‘‘the FOI portal on the website is an important tool for checking sharp practices, promoting development and restoring the rights and powers of citizens to know. Because transparency is the middle name of NEITI, we have to walk the talk.’’
He explained that the new website which is FOI compliant is designed to provide access and feedback to the public on NEITI’s operations in compliance with the provisions of the FOI Act.
Mr. Adio urged the public to use the FOI portal and the new website to avail themselves of information and data contained in the NEITI reports and other issues in the extractive sector”.
The FOI portal was a product of a partnership between NEITI and another non-governmental organisation Right 2 Know (R2K) under the funding of MacArthur Foundation.
Dr. Orji Ogbonnaya Orji