OrderPaperToday – The House of Representatives on Wednesday passed through second reading a bill that seeks to set aside 20% of procurement to economically disadvantaged people, including women and youths.

The bill entitled, ‘a bill for an act to amend the public procurement act Cap. P laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004 to make it mandatory for 20% of all public procurement of the federal government to award to new indigenous companies, youths, and other Nigerians who fall within the economically disadvantaged group,’ was co-sponsored by Afe Olowokere (APC, Ondo) and Sunday Karimi (PDP, Kogi).

During debate, a point of order was raised by Uzoma Abonta (PDP, Abia) who argued that the bill intends to discriminate against certain persons. He said: “If a 100 years old person can do the job, we should allow him/her, this can be done by policy, that’s why we cannot give 35% affirmative to women.”

The point of order was ruled out of order by the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, and urged the sponsor of the bill to continue.

Mr. Karimi said the 20% procurement peg for the disadvantaged will enable them to start their own enterprise, saying “the projects are going to be of lesser technical know how, so that they can approach the banks and compete.”

In her contribution, Nkiruka Nyejiocha (APC, Anambra) argued that the intervention bills that are being sponsored by lawmakers point to something much serious in the governance process, saying “what will solve our problems is to strengthen our oversight, when we have 20% implementation of budget, how are you going to have 20% set aside?”

The bill was therefore put to vote by the Speaker, and the “ayes” had it.


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