In a bid to ensure speedy execution of developmental projects across Lagos State, lawmakers at the State House of Assembly have proposed the amendment of the State Procurement Agency Law, 2015 with a view of raising the advance payment to contractors from 20 to 40 percent.
They explained that the need to ensure effective service deliveries on part of contractors handling developmental projects across the state necessitated the proposal in giving succor to contractors who had also been affected with economic hardship occassioned by outbreak of coronavirus.
The lawmakers gave their position during the public hearing on a bill titled, ‘The Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (Amendment) Bill, 2020,’ which took place at the Lagos House of Assembly Pavilion on Wednesday.
The Speaker of the House, Mudashiru Obasa, said that the lawmakers were proposing 20 per cent increase for the mobilization fee as part of the house responsibility to ensure good legislation that would aid the state development in meeting the demands of the 21st century and its teeming population.
Speaking during his opening remarks, Obasa, who was represented by his Deputy, Wasiu Sanni-Eshinlokun said that despite its position among committee of states in Nigeria, Lagos must continue on a path of remarkable progress which other could learn from.
Through a statement released to newsmen by his media aide, Tolani Abatti, Obasa explained that the proposed increment was needed to set the state on the part of continuous progress.
‘‘The idea of public hearing affords the policymakers to hear from the masses. It is meant to build public confidence in the government. Good legislation must not be the yearnings of the populace alone, it must be the aggregated interest of the people.
‘‘We are here to discuss important issues, which is public procurement. Procurement is broad, encompassing, and covers all aspects of government activities. Lagos State is proud to be one of the states with one of the best procurement policies in Nigeria.
‘‘We must never rest on oars towards the provision of better democracy. We can make remarkable progress and improvement through our contributions today,’’ the statement quoted Obasa as saying.
On his part, the Chairman, House Committee on Public Procurement, Rauf Age-Sulaimon said that the purpose of the amendment was to ensure that the society was regulated.
‘‘When you are talking about development, procurement is the most important because if, government projects are not properly executed, of course, you will not see the result. We have been talking about the money needed for projects and the economy is not smiling at all and for us to support contractors there is a need on the part of the government to encourage them. The essence of this is to increase from 20% to 40% so that the person involved would be able to do the job effectively.
‘‘We will ensure that the contractors adhere strictly to the terms of the contract. It will benefit the masses because it will not be the winner takes it all. It will not be the survival of the fittest because the fittest might not be capable. It is open to everybody. Once you have the requirement you will be allowed to bid,’’ he said.
While giving the overview of the Bill, the Majority Leader, Sanai Agunbiade explained that the law has 83 sections, out of which 38 sections were being considered for amendment, adding that the amendment was aimed at simplifying its narration.
‘‘Amendment of section 63, advance payment of not more than 40 percent of the contract sum may be paid to a supplier or contractor. Provided that advance payment above 40 percent shall be subject to the regulation prescribed by the agency.
‘‘Subject to the provisions of subsection (1) of this section, any person, company or authority who accesses mobilization fee and absconds or does not carry out the services or works commensurate to the fee paid commits an offense and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for two years or a fine equivalent to the fee paid or both,’’ the lawmaker said.