Stakeholders at the eNigeria Conference and Exhibition taking place in Abuja on Wednesday called for the automation of the Public Procurement Processes, PPP, in government institutions to avoid gaps in service delivery.
They made the call during panel session at the 11th edition of the annual conference which has “Promoting Digital Economy in an Era of Disruptive Technologies Through Effective Regulations” as theme for this year.
The stakeholders, who discussed on the topic: “How Does Tech Innovations in Political Campaign Funding and Public Procurement Process Promote Open Governance”, said automation of the processes would ensure good governance.
Prof. Allwell Achumba, the Registrar of Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria said the infrastructure that would ensure e-procurement were lacking.
He added that “the infrastructure to foster procurement is lacking, especially in the area of manpower.
“These things require software, hardware and the people involved need to be computer-literate to understand what is required for the customisation of software to our systems.”
Mr Achumba said that the Bureau of Public Procurement, BPP, was trying to automate procurement processes which would be implemented in Ministries, Departments and Agencies, MDAs.
According to him, the automation is still at the semi-manual level.
The registrar said that the computer professionals’ council had proposed to BPP to engage its members in the automation procurement processes, adding that the council members would educate the ministries and agencies on the Information Technology requirements.
He said that some progress had been recorded and the council was collaborating with institutions of government to facilitate their automation on public procurement processes.
Prof. Adesina Sodiya from Department of Computer Science, University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, said that the public procurement processes were still at the traditional state and adverts for procurements were still made in traditional print newspapers.
Represented by Prof. Jimoh Rasheed, the acting Dean, Faculty of Communication, University of Ilorin, Sodiya said “all processes are still very conventional, it is just few agencies that have advanced to what is obtainable in the real world.
“The low level of compliance to automated procurement processes are happening because we don’t want to change.
“Globally, automation is the trend and we cannot afford to be left out. Although it might take us years to key in, it is the practice everywhere.”
According to Sodiya, there is the urgent need for transparency in government affairs, especially procurement because the nation has National Information System, which is enough to achieve that.
Abdussalam Gital, the Head, Mathematical Sciences, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, Bauchi, said that automating procurement processes for open governance was cost efficient.
Gital said “automated procurement process promotes integrity, transparency in governance and accountability.”
The News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, reports that the conference brings stakeholders across the country and beyond to discover new opportunities provided by increasing advancement in innovation.
eNigeria conference is also to encourage start-ups and ICT entrepreneurs, aimed at accelerating the development and access to digital products, services to millions of Nigerians, and to ultimately create Africa’s largest single digital market by 2020.