On 25 November 2016, even with the 29th Convocation of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, less than 24 hours away, its Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim Garba, still retained much of his attention – and enthusiasm – for the very modest job at hand.

The Director-General of the Bureau, Mr. Mamman Ahmadu, cuts the tape, flanked to his left by Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council of ABU, Arc. Mohammed Dewu and (to his right) by ABU Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Ibrahim Garba

It was the flag-off activities at the Public Procurement Research Centre (PPRC) at the institution. Indeed, the event demonstrated the height of significance that his institution attached to the gesture of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) in recently citing the facility in his institution, after a similar one was established at the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO). The University of Lagos has also recently been granted the facility, in respect of which construction work has commenced in both institutions.

But ABU simply couldn’t wait until the physical construction of the centre has been completed before swinging into action in the task of providing a wide range of expertise and skills to officers both in the public and private sectors. ABU’s PPRC will be looking to cover the northern states, with the facilities in Owerri and Lagos covering the South East and South West respectively.

The Director-General of the Bureau, Mr. Mamman Ahmadu, a quantity surveyor of repute and himself a 1976 graduate of the institution who assumed duties in October, cut the tape to flag off activities at the Centre. In sharing some of the new thinking in the Bureau of Public Procurement, he posited that the concept of value for money does not necessarily amount to executing a contract at the lowest price, but ensuring that contract is awarded at a cost that guarantees that the benefits from the project meet the expectations of the end-user. He said that It is why, he said, the Bureau will henceforth adopt a life-cycle approach to monitor the execution of government contracts.

ABU’s PPRC will, in the meantime, operate from the expansive School of Postgraduate Studies. Through it, the Bureau will partner with the university in the task of building national capacity required for the efficient and effective utilization of scarce resources to deliver value for money in the provision of infrastructure, goods and services.

The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman of the Council of ABU, Arc. Mohammed Dewu, thanked BPP for citing the facility at ABU and promised to put his weight behind the efforts to make it serve the greater interest of Nigeria in general and the geopolitical zone that constitutes its catchment area in particular.

The centre will rely on trainers from the university, BPP, professional organizations, civil society and international institutions deliver training. Online courses will also be offered at the facility, in collaboration with the relevant departments and units of the university.

According to the head of BPP’s Research, Training and Strategic Planning Department, Mr. Adebowale Adedokun, BPP will share with the centre information, data and perspectives on the implementation of procurement reforms in Nigeria within the framework of the Public Procurement Act 2007, as well as experiences from other countries.