Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation
Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation

Following the recent passage of the 2016 Budget which was signed into law by President Muhammadu Buhari, the Federal Government has begun its implementation. However, to ensure speedy execution of projects that are considered critical, the Federal Government has directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to forward list of ongoing and new projects in order of priority for immediate funding.

The directive is contained in the circulars from the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF). According to a circular signed by Fatima Mede, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Budget and National Planning, all MDAs are to submit their project list to the ministry.

She explained that ministers are expected to give necessary directives to their permanent secretaries to immediately commence procurement process as part of efforts toward ensuring effective implementation of the 2016 budget. “This is to enable us to process and thereafter send report to the Federal Ministry of Finance for release of funds,’’ she said.

Similarly, a circular from the SGF’s office, signed by Babachir Lawal, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, stated that the 2016 budget must be fully and effectively implemented. To achieve this, the SGF ordered all MDAs to accelerate procurement activities for all new and ongoing projects and programmes indicated in the 2016 budget.

Lawal, however, said that this must be carried out in accordance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act 2007. “MDAs are accordingly directed to comply with the six weeks advertisement period stipulated in the procurement act to fast-track the implementation of the 2016 budget, particularly for new programmes and projects. In other words, prequalified evaluation process should not exceed 14 days, while financial evaluation process, notification of award and obtaining necessary approvals should not exceed 30 days altogether,” he said.

Lawal further directed MDAs to advertise and invite bids for projects costing less than N100 million for goods and services and N300 million for works as such procurement do not require separate prequalification. “This will reduce the average processing time for open competitive bidding by at least 35 days and further accelerate implementation of the 2016 budget,” he said.

According to Lawal, MDAs that had not commenced the implementation of their 2016 procurement plans were directed to proceed immediately. He added that slowness in whatever form would not be tolerated. He advised accounting officers to ensure strict compliance with the contents of the circular.

It was gathered from the Ministry of Finance that the Federal Government had commenced the release of funds to MDAs.

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