The Director General of Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Emeka Ezeh, has said 156 companies were being prosecuted for allegedly forging procurement documents to bid for contracts.
Ezeh who disclosed this at the Bureau’s Annual Contractors, Consultants and Service Providers (CCSP) Forum of Federal Government Ministries, Agencies and Departments in Abuja, said that the greed to bid for higher paying contracts in various government organisations was responsible for the frequent submissions of fake documents by contractors.
“A lot of contractors, especially 80 per cent of the local contractors; are notorious for submitting fake documents when biding for contracts.
“We see false tax clearance certificates, PenCom certificate of compliance, false claims of personnel, false audited accounts, use of fake addresses and submission of fake bank statements.
“There are 156 companies being prosecuted because of this. Space is not enough in our prisons to accommodate all these fraudulent contractors. So, this has to change’’, he said.
He urged contractors to restrict themselves to their areas of core competence, where they have technical and financial capacity to execute a certain project.
Ezeh said that for efficient procurement practises, BPP had started the compilation of an electronic database of all contractors, consultants and service providers.
“We started the registration of CCSP as part of BPP’s drive to reform the public procurement system for better monitoring and oversight of public procurement processes.
“As at April 24, 1,495 companies have started the registration process. Out of that number, only 158 have completed their registration. By mid-June, any company that is not completely registered on our database cannot do business with any MDA,” he said.
Meanwhile, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim, has urged contractors to help drive infrastructure development by making judicious use of funds provided for projects.
Anyim, represented by the Permanent Secretary, Economic Affairs, Office of the SGF, Abubakar Magaji, said contractors were important to realise the magnitude of infrastructure development needed in the country.
“We must insist on maximum returns on the resources made available to implement capital projects. Government is not unmindful of the risks being faced by contractors doing business with government.
“These risks are manifested in high interest, funding, manpower, security, delay and corruption which in the long run contribute to unnecessary increase in costs of projects.
“However, such shortcomings cannot provide excuses for non-compliance with the provisions of the Public Procurement Act. It is, therefore, the duty of CCSP to come up with more effective strategies to contend with the risks’’, Anyim said.
The Managing Director, Heland International Limited, Oguneme Uclam, urged the Federal Government to have a centralised payment system for its contractors.
“As contractors, it is not as if it is difficult for us to obey the rules and get our papers right. The problem is delay in payment by MDAs. I would suggest that if it is possible, payment to contractors for projects executed should be taken away from MDAs.
“This will help us because the MDAs will tell you us that there is no money even when we hear that Ministry of Finance has released funds. So, when government is defaulting in its payment, you do not expect us to borrow money to pay for tax, PenCom, and other documents. These are some of the challenges we are facing,” he said.