By Grace Udofia
The Federal Government of Nigeria has officially launched the Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement Project (SPESSE) which it has described as a measure that will boost economic growth in the country.
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo during the launch in Abuja, explained that the project will be key to achieving and maintaining sustainable physical infrastructure.
Osinbajo who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Chuwkuemeka Nwajiuba, stated that if Nigeria must achieve the objectives of the Economic Recovery Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the country must get it right in Procurement, Environmental and Social safeguards.
“Nigeria must make progress in reducing the high cost of governance in the public sector as well as be strengthened by entrenching transparency and accountability at all levels of government.
“Also, issues relating to construction, rehabilitation and extension of existing buildings, acquisition of lands, purchase of laboratory equipment, disposal of reagents and samples amongst others must conform with world standards.
“To achieve this, there is need to build adequate technical capacity required for efficient and effective procurement, environmental and social safeguard systems.
“We are satisfied with how the procurement cat of 2017 is being implemented at the moment, but administrative powers to deal with legal issues will be subject to when the National Assembly will have to debate and agree on revolving such powers,” he said.
In his remarks, Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commission (NUC) Adamu Rasheed, said Nigeria is finally on the path to developing the much-needed critical mass of professionals in the fields of Procurement, Environmental Standards and Social Standards.
“The SPESSE Project is Nigeria’s first attempt at institutionalising sustainable capacity building in the fields of Procurement, Environmental, and Social Standards, by offering professionalisation and academic programmes in a custom-made, fit-for-purpose and sustainable manner, through the centers of Excellence. This project is a capacity building one that assures results across the entire Nigerian economy,” he said.
The objective of the World Bank-sponsored project is to develop human capacity in procurement management in the public and private sectors, and to produce competent and intellectually sound procurement professionals.
The SPESSE is domiciled in six universities across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria.
The Heritage Times had reported that the World Bank had shortlisted six universities for the project. The shortlisted universities are: University of Lagos, Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University Bauchi, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria and the University of Benin.