Contractors to get 30% mobilisation

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Local contractors are to be paid 30 per cent mobilisation fee for Federal Government jobs awarded them, the Senate proposed on Wednesday.

The extant 15 per cent is considered too little, thereby hindering quick execution or outright abandonment of projects.

The proposal is contained in the Public Procurement Act amendment Bill passed yesterday by the upper legislative chamber.

The Bill is due to be sent to the House of Representatives for concurrence before  President Muhammadu Buhari’s assent.

Senate President Ahmed Lawan said he expects the Bill to get to the President’s table before the Christmas break.

Lawan said: “What we have done today is really to put the icing on the cake on what we are about to do tomorrow (Thursday) by the grace of God we will pass the 2020 budget.

“We have already passed the Finance bills that will ensure that we get the required revenue to implement the budget.

“The public procurement process in Nigeria has been a big bottleneck for sometime, probably since it was passed.

“I believe that with this amendment, the procurement process will be faster and better, as will be the budget implementation process.

“Surely, this bill will have to go to the House of Representatives for them to concur.

“I had a discussion with the Honourable Speaker that they will concur with us before we go on the Christmas break so that we will give the executive all they would require to implement the 2020 budget successfully.”

In his lead debate during the consideration and passage of the report of the Senate Committee on Procurement on the Public Procurement Act, 2007 (amendment) Bill, Senator Shuaibu Lau (Taraba North) said the various  sections amended in the Act would turnaround the nation’s procurement process and contract award process.

On the issue on mobilisation for local contractors, the committee recommended not more than 20 per cent but the Senate approved 30 per cent after the debate.

The Senate did not fix any percentage as mobilization fee for foreign contractors because some Senators were of the view that they should be ready to use their money for projects and get paid afterwards.

The amendment also saw the reduction of the time frame for contract award to two weeks for processing and four days to issue certificates to qualified contractors.

Many Senators during the consideration of the report averred that the current mobilisation fee for local contractors was inadequate and that it usually leads to contract abandonment.

Senators were divided over whether certificates of no objection should be issued by heads of the MDAs or a special  committee in the Bureau of Public Procurement.

After extensive debate, senators agreed to use the timeframe template to save time and prevent corruption in contract award.

They agreed that contracts should be processed within two weeks while  the certificate should be issued within four days.

Lawan said that there should be a deliberate plan of the government to encourage local contractors through policies and legislation.

He expressed confidence that the procurement process would now be  faster with the passage of the Public Procurement Act 2007 (amendment) Bill 2019.

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