NGO to reward citizens for reporting shady procurement processes

The Follow Taxes, an NGO says it will reward citizens who consistently report irregularities in procurement processes in Kaduna State.

The Co-Founder of the NGO, Dr Saied Tafida, made this known on the sidelines of two days training for State and Local Government procurement officers to improve Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS).

Tafida told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Zaria on Thursday that the organisation would also recognise outstanding Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) who adhered to the OCDS.

He said that the recognition would serve as an incentive to promote citizens participation and government’s response to complaints around procurement processes in the state.

According to him, the goal is to entrench citizens’ participation and ownership in the procurement processes to improve the quality of service delivery in the state.

“We have already trained the citizens as Community Development Champions in the three Senatorial Zones, one each from the 255 political wards in the state on how to engage the process.

“After a while, we will go to the database to harvest how many reports were received and from which part of the state and on which procurement areas.

“Citizens with the highest number of complaints from communities and local government areas will be recognised and rewarded.”

He said that the capacity of the citizens would be further built to engage the process more and make neighbouring communities want to emulate the process.

He said that for the MDAs, the NGO would be rewarding agencies based on how much data they uploaded on the OCDS platform and how much of the citizen’s complaints and requests they responded to.

“We will rank the MDAs based on performance and reward those that are doing very well.

“The MDAs with the highest data upload and responses will be rewarded and recommended for governor’s recognition to encourage them to do more.

“We are hoping that this idea will be adopted by the Kaduna State Public Procurement Authority (KADPPA) for sustainability to ensure robust citizen’s engagement of the procurement process,” Tafida said.

NAN reports that the training was organised by the Legal Awareness for Nigerian Women and Follow Taxes with support of MacArthur Foundation, to improve the OCDS implementation in Kaduna State.

Tafida explained that the OCDS enabled the disclosure of data and documents at all stages of the contracting process by defining a common data model.

According to him, the OCDS is created to increase contracting transparency and allow deeper analysis of contracting data by a wide range of users.

He said this would strengthen accountability and transparency in the procurement processes in the state.

Mr Mohammed Suleiman, the Director Compliance and Capacity Building, KADPPA commended Follow Taxes for the initiative, describing it as “crucial” to robust citizen’s participation.

Suleiman said that all procurement officers would be trained on how to use the e-procurement and the OCDS portals, adding that the portals would be made user friendly and adaptable to mobile phones. (NAN)