Finance Minister, Zainab Ahmed
By CLEMENT NWOJI, Abuja
The Federal Ministry of Finance, Efficiency Unit and the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) have created and launched “Price Checker Platform” for determining actual and lowest market price of noncustomised goods and services in the country.
Price Checker is a web based platform for vendors of non-customised goods to upload the prices of their goods for use by all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) and governments in their public procurement process.
It is to allow for uniformity in procurement across ministries, departments, agencies and even governments.
At a sensitisation programme on Price Checker and e-Procurement jointly organised by Efficiency Unit and BPP, the Head, Regulation and Database Department, Bureau of Public Procurement, Mr. Aliyu Aliyu, explained that Price Checker is a platform that would allow product vendors to upload their prices so that procurement will be more transparent such that government will not be spending money on expensive items.
According to him, Price Checker platform became inevitable with the introduction of GIFMIS which revealed serious disparity in rate of procurement among MDAs.
He said: “This way everybody will have idea of what prices are and when we publish procurement record, anybody can check and raise concerns.
“By the time we do a review of an agency’s procurement and discovered that you purchased items far higher than what was the trend at a particular time, you will get a query or we asked EFCC to visit you. The price checker is just a check to ensure efficiency. We are aware that prices cannot be exactly the same but they should not be unreasonably higher”, Aliyu explained
He however, gave the assurance that the Public Procurement Act has already taken care of suppliers and their interest in cases of payment delays.
According to him, “The system is not expected to procure and not pay suppliers promptly. There is the delay payment clause in the public procurement Act where after 60 days of supply, government ought to pay interest on delays.
“With that clause invoked, we expect that we don’t give contracts when there is no money to pay for it. There is a punitive clause in the public procurement Act whereby after 60 days without payment, a contractor or supplier can invoke.”
Earlier in an opening remarks, Head, Efficiency Unit, Mr. Ojonimi Imaji noted that governments at all levels are facing paucity of funds in discharge of their constitutional responsibilities as they are webbed by heavy financial burden.
“This has made government to become inquisitive to explore and use all relevant avenues that will allow for transparency in its transactions and to have an improved revenue generation to be able to fund critical projects and programmes that will be beneficial to citizens”, he stated.