Budget Monitoring and price intelligence unit in the presidency, otherwise known as Due Process office is rooted in the financial practices of inflated costs of government expenditure and other unscrupulous practices, which characterized public programme implementations.
The corrupt scenario was properly captured by the genuine and patriotic observation of Dr Oby Ezekwesili, the former senior special assistant to the president on Budget and due process. she said “Undoubtedly, the perception of Nigeria as a nation that has compromised its developemental potentials because of poor state stewardship of resources is more factual than anyone of you can imagine. That in over three decade of her status as oil producing nation, indicators of the country have shown more declining trend than a progressive course, which represents proof of the monumental abuse of resources” that we have witnessed in our country.
Due process means the application of the principles of openness or transparency, competency or qualification and competition or equal opportunity to all in the conduct and award of federal government contracts to ensure that the winner, the cost and the quality are right for every kobo of the Nigerian public treasury that is spent in the purchase of goods, services or works.
Some apostles of due process note that since that overriding principle of the administration is that “Bad behaviour must be closely checkmated and good behaviour must be rewarded” (a basic principle upon which all great economies are built) it is no surprise that those who choose to remain stuck with the old bad ways of the past will find the due process difficult to bear.
The initial strategy of the Unit was to quietly implement the due process, without any wave of publicity as it’s widely acknowledged; implementing the due process within our historical political milieu is a very difficult aspect of the government reform agenda.
However, now that mostly, because of the President undaunted vision, the principle has become etched and stamped in the mind of operators and participants in federal government contracting, the need for wider public and other stakeholders involvement is made more critical.
BENEFITS OF DUE PROCESS
Specifically, the due process results in the following benefits to the government:
- Good governance of public money and assets resulting in the reduction of corruption.
- Improved system planning and project preparation work leading to accuracy of costing, cost/benefit analysis and prioritization in deciding the spending pattern and plan of any given year.
- Improved fiscal management through more effective expenditure, institutions, processes and control mechanism.
- More optional resources allocation decision to achieve clearly articulated public policy objectives through enhanced identification of the cost and benefit of alternative expenditure decisions.
- Improved liquidity management of public funds.
- Improved technical efficiency in managing and utilizing resources through improved information flow.
- Enhanced transparency and accountability of government, providing better historic information as a guide to the future.
Due Process Compliance Certificate
This due process compliance certification (DPCC) is three leveled certification process that comprises:
- Budget Preparation work certification
- Contract Award Process Certification
- Completion Work Certification
Budget Preparation Certification:
At the budget preparation certification, the goal is to ensure that planning is linked to budgeting and accounting especially through the process of selecting and monitoring of projects. Both of these aspects are fully integrated within the system to ensure consistent prioritization and the use of the accounting system to provide financial information on project put-turns.
It can be stated too strongly that the determination of the feasibility of each project is an essential and the basic step in the process of project preparation and development. Technical, financial and economic feasibility studies must be carried out and should address at least the following types of issues:
- Availability of suitable site
- Availability of appropriate building materials and labor
- Availability of necessary external services such as water supply, power supply, highway and pedestrian access, foul and service water drainage and solid waste disposal
- Have the mechanism for further operation and maintenance of the project been carefully studied and clearly articulated?
- Has the demand for the project been determined by carrying out detailed surveys of potential users?
- Will the project generate positive financial returns coverage?
- What over time is it capital cost?
- On an annual basis, what is it recurring operational and maintenance cost?
In summary, certification of a project for budget preparation entails a decision that such a project has fully satisfied all due process requirements for start of implementation. Specifically, that it has met the following conditions:
- It is well aligned with federal government of Nigeria strategic and sectoral priorities
- Project has been adequately prepared technically and financially
- Project cost is consistent with estimate and comparable with international practice.
Contract Award Certification:
Upon the appropriation by the National Assembly, the expenditure management stream of the DPC commences. Specifically, the BMPI (Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit) specialist working closely with all relevant spending units must certify that each appropriated project has met the following conditions before contract can be awarded for its execution;
- Tender document have been prepared in line with the federal government guidelines.
- The tender process has been carried out in compliance with federal government guidelines.
- Pre-qualification criteria were appropriate clearly stated and fully complied with.
- Selection process has been carried out in line with government requirements.
- The lowest/best evaluated bidder determined as qualified to perform the contract satisfactorily was recommended for contract award.
- Management has approved selection of good reasons for changes in recommendation have been provided.
- Contract price is comparable with international experience.
- It has been verified that successful bidder continue to meet prequalification requirements.
- Appropriate performance security has been indicated.
A certificate of compliance with contract award process issued by the BMPI (Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit) means that an appropriate project has fully satisfied all due process requirements for contract award, thereby permitting the spending unit to proceed with signing of contract and advising the Treasury through the Minister of Finance to make payment of mobilization costs.
Completion of Work Certification:
This is a certification that a project has fully satisfied all due process requirements for release of additional funds. Specifically, that it has met the following conditions:
- Funds released earlier have been fully utilized
- Site visit has been carried out to assess progress of work on contract
- Contract work is being carried out as agreed in contract.
- Percentage of work completed is commensurate with funds spends.
- Anticipated project results are being achieved or if not appropriate measures have been taken to ensure that results and goals identified under the contract are fully achieved.
Hence, no further release are made on an awarded contract until the BMPI (Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit) sector specialist working jointly with relevant officials of each spending unit issues a certification that a project has met all the conditions listed above.
The unique features of the BMPI (Budget Monitoring and Price Intelligence Unit) is its use of external sector specialist to both validate and track budget and expenditure effectively, efficiently and effortlessly without having to depend on a huge internal technical staff.
A major challenge in the use of sector experts is identifying more Nigerians who are not ethically challenged and who possess the requisite technical competencies needed in the various sectors of capital spending.