Ekiti Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) flouted Open Contracting Principles.
The Ekiti State government has awarded over N50 billion (₦50,169,805,561.91) worth of contracts for 200 separate projects without giving the names of the purported contractors, Dataphyte investigations revealed.
Besides flouting a clear open contracting procedure as this, there were other breaches of standards in the contract award report the government published.
As of August 1, 2021, Ekiti State Bureau of Public Procurement published on its website, information on 1,103 contracts relating to works, goods and consultancies. Based on the data on the portal, the budgeted amount for these 1,103 projects is ₦869.8 billion (₦869,775,321,718.71).
However, the projects were contracted at a total cost of ₦152.1 billion (₦152,084,341,920.91). The difference between the total budget amount and contract amount for the projects stands at ₦717.7 billion (₦717,690,979,797.80). This means that the budget could have been inflated by 472% over the market value.
Akintunde Babatunde, an open contracting advocate, commended the bureau for its efforts to reduce the potential waste of scarce resources of the state, as the award of the budgeted amounts could have translated to.
Yet, he expressed worry at the magnitude of the difference, saying two things could have been responsible.
He noted that these wide margins could be clear cases of inflated budgets by the various ministries and agencies in Ekiti State, and could result from a lack of due scrutiny by the State Assembly that passed the outrageous budgeted amounts for projects in the first place.
Projects worth 21.9 Billion with no Open Contracting Identification (OCID)
Further analysis of the Ekiti contracts data showed that ₦21.9 billion (₦21,918,434,135.19) worth of contracts was published with no OCID to identify or reconcile the procurements with the contractors in the future.
The global standards for publishing public contracts information is known as the open contracting data standards (OCDS). This is promoted internationally by the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) and by the Public and Private Development Centre (PPDC) in Nigeria.
An important feature of an OCDS compliant reporting platform or website is that each contract information should have a unique identifier.
This is usually referred to as an OCID. According to the OCP, the OCID is a globally or locally unique identifier used to trace a project through all the stages of its contracting process.
Missing information on the fiscal year the contracts were awarded and the approved budget amounts
Besides the billions of Naira worth of projects without unique identifiers, at least 4 projects with a total contract cost of ₦606.66 million (₦606,663,711.78) had no information on the date or fiscal year of their contract award.
Though the Bureau indicated the fiscal year that 99 percent of the projects from 2005-2020 were awarded, it did not publish the same details for the 2021 fiscal year.
Also, data showed the possibility that the projects had no appropriation by the Ekiti State House of Assembly. This is because no initial approved budget value was provided on the portal.
These four projects were contracted to GM WASTE MANAGEMENT (₦1,700,000), GATOL NIG LTD (₦18,420,000.00) and DORTMUND CONSTRUCTION COMPANY LIMITED (₦571,854,038.62). The name of the contractor of the fourth project, worth ₦14,689,673.16, was not stated.
Published contracts imply the Ekiti Government awarded the highest contracts between 2018 and 2020
Analysis of the procurement data supplied on the website showed that the value of contract data for 2006 was the lowest with ₦26.73 million. This is followed by 2009, 2011 and 2010 with the sum totals of ₦174.54 million, ₦341.53 million, and ₦348.39 million respectively.
The top five years by the sum of contract amounts were 2020, 2019, 2018, 2012, 2005 with ₦60.59 billion, ₦52.29 billion, ₦20.55 billion, ₦7.56 billion and ₦3.55 billion respectively.