Babatunde Fashola, minister of works and housing, says there was no inflation in the contracts awarded by his ministry in 2018.
In a damning report, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) said it saved N26bn for the federal government in 2018 by revising the sums of government contracts approved by some ministries, departments and agencies.
The agency said the highest reduction was made from the ministry of power, works and housing where N22.22 billion was cut from a request of N877.40 billion.
Fashola was in charge of power before it was removed from his portfolio by President Muhammadu Buhari in August.
In a statement on Monday, Hakeem Bello, the minister’s spokesperson, said the claim that savings were made by the agency is subjective.
“Being a department of the same government, ordinarily this should not warrant a reply; however the misleading nature of the reporting in the media and the statements credited to BPP compel a response for the purposes of clarification and enlightenment of the public,” he said.
“Any person who takes time to read the provisions of the Public Procurement Act, which created the BPP will understand that no contract can be awarded until BPP certifies that it has NO OBJECTION.
“Therefore there was no INFLATED contract because BPP clearly stated that it reduced the costs, and according to BPP she ‘… saved over N26 Billion…’ And this is the heart of the matter, because BPP’s ‘savings’ can only be a SUBJECTIVE assessment based on rates quoted by contractors, reviewed by the Ministry , and sent to BPP for certification.
“Once rates are published and design is known, quantities can be ascertained and costs can be determined.
“This is the field of Quantity Surveyors and Construction Economists, and the Minister of Works and Housing has not made any secret about his call for a revision of the Public Procurement Act to resolve this and other gaps in the Law.
“Indeed, during the first term of this Administration, the Ministry of Power, Works and Housing had commissioned the compilation of a service wide Rate of major items of procurement from the largest to the smallest for BPP to consider, adopt or amend and publish.”