50% of Nigeria’s budget ends up in private pockets, says Oyewo

Oyewo

Diekola Oyewo, is the president, Chartered Institute of Purchasing and Supply of Nigeria. In this interview with KINGSLEY JEREMIAH, he discusses the many challenges confronting the profession in Nigeria, particularly the failure of the Federal Government to constitute a council that will regulate activities of the Bureau of Public Procurement.

To what extent does non engagement of professional purchasing and supply experts affects the country’s economy?
What we are seeing today, the magnitude of corruption we are seeing tells you nothing less than 50 per cent of national budget must have gone to private pockets

And is that attributed to the issue of purchasing and supply?
My understanding is that if a budget is made, if the allocation is made and it is not appropriately use they call it misappropriation. Look at what is happening in the North east, assuming that money is appropriately used for the intended purpose, do you think Boko haram would have had more arms they are using in fighting. That is just an aspect of it.

The totality of the budget is spent on corruption, corruption takes all, while 20 per cent is what we are struggling to manage, that is why poverty is written in everybody’s face today. Nigeria is facing so many issues, because the budget is not spent in the right way. When you sum up all these, I will say the totality of budget is wasted on what we cannot see, that is why unemployment is growing on daily basis and other misfortune is coming up everyday and there is nothing for the masses.

Based on studies carried out by the world bank, which gave birth to Act 14 of 2007, which suggested that there should be two bodies on public procurement, stated that 75 to 80 per cent of the total budget of any nation goes into procurement contract and services. The question that is now begging for answer is that, are we getting the right materials, the right products, the right services in the country? Are we getting the right dividend of democracy that was promised us? We had gone to even call on the president many times explaining that is high time to inaugurate the council, because law is made to solve problems, law is not made to create problem.

The institute is vocal. Why we took that decision to be doing that is key to growth of the economy and is one key area because it takes 75 to 80 per cent of the budget, therefore we can’t keep quiet.

What do you stand to achieve in the mandatory general meeting taking place in Abuja?
What we stand to achieve, in the area of mandatory is to offer refresher course to professionals. You don’t become a professional after the graduation and you forget about it. You have to be trained and retrained and retrained. New ideas come up, members must be part of those new ideas, that’s for mandatory. Mandatory is for already graduated members,

The second one that will come up on Saturday this week is for fresh graduates that are induction. We induct the new graduates, because after induction they will join the mandatory class later in the year.

What is the institute all about and why is it key to the nation’s economy?
Chattered institute of purchasing and supplying of Nigeria is a member body of international federation of purchasing and supply management. We have more than fifty countries in that federation, and the responsibility per say is to handle the procurement of materials, construction in any organisation; private or public enterprise. Chattered institute of purchasing and supplying of Nigeria is an established professionally independent and non-profit making body. We are charged with the responsibility for registration, training, research and discipline of erring members, and for related matters. The act that establish the institute was enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and assented to by the President on April 30, 2007. Lack of patronage of professionals in procurement is the bane of corruption in Nigeria. Corruption is so high in every sector of the economy because everybody wants to be involved in procurement.

It is a decade now that the institute was chattered, what have you actually achieved?
As I said earlier, corruption jeopardizes progress. We know fully well that any system that is going to rescue or reposition the economy of this country, the politicians always find a way to prevent it. Such is the case of the institute. The country has a bureau for public procurement, which should have a council. But the agency has been operating without a council – regulator. This is because politicians have made it as a way of enriching themselves that is why they did not even allow that law to work.

Those who are saddled to inaugurate the council did not do so, because they know that if they inaugurate the council, they will not be able to maneuver the agency as they are doing.

You all know what the politicians are doing to us in this country, the council that is supposed to be on ground, media organisation is a member of that council, and may I throw it to you all, how many media organisations have now come up to raise an eyebrow on that? The Nigerian bar association are members, Secretary to the government is a member, Head of service is member, civil society groups are members. But I tell you today, it’s only the chattered institute of purchasing and supply management of Nigeria that have been speaking out.

It is only the chattered institute that is trying to make sure things work, which in all is one over six, and the only area where we have been pleading is to continue to shouting. That is why we are now partnering with most organisations, like your very good distinguished organization, The Guardian, when they come up, we extend our hand, any sector that is ready to reposition the economy so that we can move to the next level.

What are the basic challenges the institute is facing?
They are so enormous. The main is the lack council to regulate procurement in the country. If there is a council, people will know their scope and limitation. I have never seen where a child is born without parents, because when you ask, they say nobody. The council that is supposed to be in place to oversee the activities of the bureau of public procurement is not in place. The government know, but why are they dodging that aspect, it is a big challenge to us.



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