The duty of the Legislature is not only to make Laws, but it is also saddled with the responsibility of expressing the will of the people and holding government, particularly the executive to account. Unfortunately, many of us are now of the impression that the salutary roles and the impact of the Katsina State House of Assembly are increasingly being diminished.
It is well known that the procurement procedure in Katsina State is being abused, contracts are being awarded to unqualified and undeserving individuals in the name of political patronage.
Good procurement is impartial, consistent, and therefore reliable. It offers all interested contractors, suppliers and consultants a level playing field on which to compete and thereby, directly expands the purchaser’s options and opportunities.
We are having situations where contracts are being awarded to unqualified individuals and contract sum are perfected and released without going through due process, situations where people were issued engagement letters on the strength of their personal relationship without any competitive bidding process.
If we have been probing those who were alleged to have embezzled our treasure-troves and those who doled out monies without following due process, it will be strange that those sitting on the throne of Justice now are equally perpetrating the same offence they sit in justice over others, it is such an absurd development.
Procurement process should be open and competitive so that only the best and most suitable contractors will win and get awarded. Why not allow the process and throw it open to all? Or is this a proof that the State Government does not follow due process in the running of the affairs of the state? The best way to achieve the right value for money from public expenditure is by encouraging competition and consistency in procurement.
Indiscriminate award of contracts without due process, without following the laid down financial regulation as well as the public procurement guidelines is wrong. The State House of Assembly has kept mute, and the House has become inept, achaic, drab, docile and inefficient.
A great deal of political will is needed to implement a transparent procurement system, The House of Assembly should as a matter of fact start the processes of enacting the law and also taking measures to implement them even though attempts to facilitate due process will meet stiff resistance from the corrupt and rogue political Class and Civil Servants which sees politics and governance as the springboard for self aggrandizement and sudden wealth.
We want a law that will make due process and public procurement as implementation mechanism to address varied issues of budget implementation and service delivery.
The House of Assembly should at every point in time show great temerity in order to keep faith with the masses whom they were elected to represent and not just the microscopic few that are getting the contracts, all we are asking for is effective representation, contribute to the emergence of a functional, transparent, accountable procurement process that will bring value for money.
The law should be made so that it addresses and builds ethical capacity infrastructures and confers legitimacy on executive as strict adherence to procurement principles are values that cannot be violated.
Abdul Shamsu Funtua