The president of the Nigerian Senate, Ahmad Lawan has decried over bloating of cost of doing projects in Nigeria.
According to him, projects that could be procured with $10,000 in “one country” could cost $100,000 in Nigeria, despite the paucity of funds and revenues in the country.
He stated this in Abuja on Wednesday, during a presentation by Professor Nazifi Abdullahi Darma on the topic ‘The 2020 Budget: Overcoming the challenges of infrastructural deficit for sustainable development.
Speaking at the meeting, which was the fourth national budget hearing organised by the National Assembly Joint Committees on Appropriation, Darma had told the federal lawmakers that Nigeria’s procurement process were always over-bloated and over-priced.
He then said that the government should make efforts to see that the nation’s projects were carried out within reasonable price limits.
Lawan, in his response agreed with him and assured that the legislature would pass a law on economic development plan for the country.
He said, “Our projects are overpriced, if there is any word like that. They are overpriced. What maybe procured for $10,000 in one country, maybe you use $100,000 in Nigeria (for it) and knowing fully that we have paucity of funds and revenues.
“I think the time has come that we have to do something about it. I recall that once I told the Minister of Finance and Budget that we need to streamline our procurement process.
“If 10 agencies of government need to purchase an item, say Item A, they are going to the same market. Why should they give us different prices? Why?
“So, in this budget, our committees will look into that. If you are buying computers and 10 ministries are buying, you must make sure the price remains the same and not overpriced.”
Speaking further he said, “The Ministry of Finance has an Efficiency Unit; we have to work on this. We are not after contractors.
“We need to have some margins for contractors’ profit in their businesses. But whether a contractor is Nigerian or a foreigner, that contractor must be concerned about the situation of Nigeria.
“If you are a Nigerian contractor, it even makes it more mandatory that you are patriotic in addition to getting your profit.”
Also noting that the legislature was prepared to work with the executive arm to legislate on the nation’s National Economic Developments Plans, Lawan added:
“I believe that the long-term National Economic Development Plan is useful. We had it before and it worked for us better.
“We stopped and we have seen the consequences. So, now that we have a Minister (of Finance) that thinks that we should go back to that process and we have a National Assembly that is prepared to ensure that this country does get it, we should hit the ground running.
“I am not aware of any request for legislation, but if it is a desire or a necessity that we legislate, this National Assembly will work with the Executive to ensure that we legislate on the National Economic Development Plans.”