Nigeria’s Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo has formally launched the Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement Project, SPESSE , saying it is key to achieving and maintaining sustainable physical infrastructure.

Launching the project in Abuja, the Vice President said 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 ,while 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”.

Prof. Osinbajo noted that to achieve this ,there is need to build adequate technical capacity required for efficient and effective procurement,environmental and social safeguard systems.

Speaking on the need to review the procurement act of 2017, the Vice President who was represented by the Minister of State for Education, Chuwkuemeka Nwajiuba, expressed the satisfaction of the government in the existing laws saying if there need be for amendment proposal would be made to the National Assembly on it.

“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”.

The Minister of Education, Adamu Adamu represented by the Perm.Sec Federal Ministry of Education, said it is time to grow home-grown experts in procurement to address issues in capital projects. He called for accelerated implementation of the projects.

“This will address issues of inefficiencies in procurement &lack of compliance in social standards”

The Executive Secretary of the National Universities Commisison, Prof 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 Centres of Excellence. This project is a capacity building one that assures results across the entire Nigerian economy”

Responding on behalf of the SPESSE host centres , the Vice Chancellor of the University of Lagos, Prof Oluwatoyin Ogundipe ,expressed readiness of the universities to host the centres saying University of Lagos already already have over 12 functional centres.

The objective of the World Bank sponsored project , SPESSE is to develop human capacity in procurement management in the public and private sectors and to produce competent and intellectually sound procurement professionals.

The Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement Project centres, SPESSE , are domiciled in six universities across the 6geo-political zones of Nigeria.

The Universities are University of Lagos, Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi, Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University (ATBU), Bauchi; Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria and the University of Benin.