The Akwa Ibom State Government has trained State Universal Basic Education Board’s procurement officers on the Procurement Process for the Implementation of the 2019 UBE Matching Grant Intervention Projects in the State.
The 1- day exercise which was championed by the State Universal Basic Education Board, drew resource persons from the South-South Zonal Office of the Universal Basic Education Commission, Uyo as well as the State Bureau of Public Procurement.
Addressing participants at the Board’s Headquarters, Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat, Uyo, The Executive Chairman SUBEB, Professor Maria Ikorok called on them to use the knowledge acquired from the training to ensure effective service delivery.
Professor Ikorok, reasoned that in view of the UBE Matching Grant Intervention project for 2019, the seminar on the procurement process became imperative to offer the procurement officers of the Board professional skills and the capacity to do their job diligently.
The SUBEB Chairman who applauded Governor Udom Emmanuel for his commitment to improving the lots of Basic Education Sub-Sector in the state, Particularly, through timely release of the State Counterpart Funds for project execution, noted that Akwa Ibom is one of the few States in the country that have accessed the 2019 UBE Matching Grant Intervention Fund.
She explained that there is no outstanding UBE Matching Grant Funds, due the State and expressed optimism that the Federal Government will pay in the 2020 Funds to enable the State access the year’s projects.
The Chairman said, “His Excellency the Governor paid the State counterpart fund for the 2019 project since March this year, in spite of the COVID-19 lockdown, the Technical team of the Board went round schools to ascertain status of infrastructure, developed a workplan and got relevant approval.
Professor Ikorok said the Governor has also given approval for the next phase of UBE Matching Grant Intervention Project billed to commence soon, adding that due process will be accorded in advertisement for tender on National and Local Dailies as required by the Law.
The Don equally informed that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Universal Basic Education Commission has directed all SUBEBs across the country to use part of the training funds in preparing for School re-opening, pointing out that School Managers from Primary to Junior Secondary Schools in the State will be trained in the upcoming exercise.
The SUBEB Chairman said that UBEC has also given SUBEBs leverage to use a fraction of the UBE Matching Grant fund for the procurement of Sanitary materials and kits to basic schools, adding that the Board has received Certificate of No Objection for reduction of fund to make the purchase. She, therefore advised SUBEB Post COVID-19 Committee Board to meet and finetune on ways to properly utilise the process.
The Zonal Director, UBEC South-South office, Uyo, Mr. Osahon Igbinoba commended SUBEB for its foresight to follow due process in all activities that the Board has embarked on.
While describing procurement as the process of finding and agreeing to terms and acquiring goods, works or services from an external source through a tendering process, Mr. Igbinoba advocated for transparency, integrity, Openness, Fairness, Competitiveness and accountability in the bidding process.
On his part Executive Secretary, Bureau of Public Procurement in the State, Mr. Ndifreke Akpan who gave an overview of the Procurement Act, said Government encouraged transparency in bidding process and saluted SUBEB for training its personnel to enhance optimal output.
Participants were exposed to the pillars of procurement, steps in Procurement, Method, Highlights on Plans, Bidding Documents, the Bid, Contract and Requirement. They expressed appreciation to the State Government and the Board for the training and promised to cascade to their subordinate lessons learnt at the seminar for excellent productivity.
Present at the event were SUBEB Board Members, Hon. Bernard Duncan, Bishop Ime Ekpe, Hon. Inibehe Etukudo, Permanent Secretary, Elder Ezekiel Umoh, Directors and some Heads of Unit.