The Head of Service, Lagos State, Mr. Hakeem Muri- Okunola, has called on individuals and institutions saddled with the responsibility of managing and regulating the financial resources of Government to proffer lasting and sustainable solutions to assist Governments at all levels in the country to overcome the current economic and financial challenges.
The Head of Service made the call while speaking at the Year 2022 Procurement Summit organised by the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, held at the Highpoint Events Centre, Central Business District, Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos.
Noting that to sustain the tempo of growth and development of Lagos as the economic, commercial and financial hub in the West African sub-region, Mr. Hakeem Muri-Okunola pointed out that new ideas and insights must continually be generated.
The Head of Service further stressed, “As key stakeholders in the Greater Lagos Agenda of the present Administration, it is in our collective interest that the Lagos Project continues to work”.
He, therefore, urged delegates at the event to participate actively in the proceedings of the Summit so that creative ideas that would not only enhance the public procurement system, but also add value to the taxpayers’ money being expended on the provision of goods and services for the people of the State could be generated.
Mr. Muri-Okunola commended the State Governor, Mr. Babajide Olusola Sanwo-Olu, for his continuous support to the Office of the Head of Service and the Public Service of the State in general. He assured the Governor of the continued loyalty and commitment of all employees in the State Public Service towards the successful implementation of the policies and programmes geared towards achieving the Greater Lagos vision.
In a goodwill message delivered by the Commissioner for Finance in the State, Dr. Rabiu Onaolapo Olowo, he emphasized the need for effective collaboration, partnership and mutual understanding among stakeholders in public procurement process.
Dr. Olowo stated further that Ministries, Departments and Agencies of Government involved in the procurement process flow must work in synergy to remove the bottlenecks often responsible for delays of payment to contractors and service providers for contracts executed for the State Government so that service providers do not suffer unduly before they could get paid for services rendered.
The Commissioner, who is also the Chairman of the Governing Board of the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, enjoined contractors and service providers who transact business with the State Government and those desiring to do so, to demonstrate high ethical values through timely delivery of contracts awarded to them without compromising the agreed quantity or quality of such jobs and without deviating from specifications and terms of reference of the contracts.
Also speaking at the event, the Director-General of the Agency, Mr. Fatai Idowu Onafowote, explained that the Summit was organised by the Agency to share experiences and ideas with stakeholders in both the public and the private sectors with a view to enriching and enhancing public procurement process in the State.
The Director-General stated that the theme: “Procure to Save: Reforming Procurement to Achieve Savings in Government Expenditure” was chosen for this year’s Summit to underscore the commitment of the Agency towards assisting the State Government to continue to achieve value for money and eliminate areas of waste in public procurement.
Mr. Onafowote restated the commitment of the Agency towards ensuring probity, transparency and efficiency in the management of the resources available to the State Government, stressing that the Agency would intensify its efforts aimed at ensuring that Ministries, Departments and Agencies of the State fully comply with the Procurement Law and due process in public procurement.
He urged delegates, including Accounting Officers, contractors, service providers and other stakeholders of the Agency to seize the opportunity offered by the Summit to make contributions, ask questions, seek clarifications and lodge complaints on the Public Procurement Law and its implementation by the Agency.
This, Director-General pointed out, would facilitate mutual understanding and cooperation between the Agency and its various stakeholders, thereby enhancing compliance to due process in public procurement in the State.
Also speaking at the occasion, Mr. Solomon Affun, the representative of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum (NGF), commended the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency for the giant strides it had recorded in entrenching public procurement.
Mr. Affun pointed out that it was in recognition of the remarkable achievements the Agency had made that the NGF was planning to bring about 20 States of the Federation to Lagos before the end of this year to understudy the Agency.
The Summit featured a panel of discussants drawn from the different sectors of the economy. Some stakeholders were also presented with awards for their contributions to public procurement in Lagos State.