From Boniface Okoro, Umuahi
Abia State government has directed all Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) to always ensure that all capital projects they execute must be captured in the annual budget estimates of the state as approved by the State House of Assembly, for each fiscal year.
The Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to Abia State Governor on Due Process and Procurement, Dr Oluebube A. Chukwu, gave the directive during a meeting with the Commissioner for Environment, Mr Philemon Asonye Ogbonna and the Management team of the Ministry, saying any project not captured in the budget would not be entertained.
The Ministry of Environment management team, led by their Commissioner, were on fact-finding cum interactive meeting with the SSA on Due Process at Government House, Umuahia.
The Due Process head made it clear that gone were the years of embarking on projects above the threshold of each MDA without following all required Due Process procedures which gave room for a lot of wastages and diversions of government funds by enemies of the state.
Already, the Due Process Office, has embarked on building a data bank of all government registered contractors in the state as directed by the Governor, Dr. Alex Otti, and advised Ministries executing projects in the state to liaise with his office for easy assessment, as the office would soon embark on performance review programme of all government projects in the state, to ensure quality compliance.
According to him, Governor Alex Chioma Otti’s administration has jettisoned any form of short-cuts and practices that impeded development in the state, and has made it mandatory for all contracts to be executed by all MDAs must pass the Due Process tests.
He said this makes it imperative that any project to be executed in the state should must be advertised by the Ministry’s Tenders Board for bids.
The Board, he said, would conduct all necessary pre-qualification preliminary checks of the project and the contractors and forward the details of the successful contractor to Due Process Office, which, at that stage, would issue Certificate of No Objection to the successful contractor.
Furthermore, for capital projects above the threshold of each Ministry, the Due Process Office would forward the contract documents to the State’s Finance and General Purpose Committee (F&GPC), which in return, after satisfactory checks, would issue a recommendation letter to the Due Process Office to prepare the Due Process Compliance Certificate, together with the recommendation letter from F&GPC, which will be forwarded to the State Executive Council through the State F&GPC, and receives approval from them, before sending it back to the respective MDA, which now forwards to the Ministry of Justice for vetting, agreement, and other official actions.
Dr Chukwu added that the contract documents would finally be brought back to the Due Process Office, which issues the Due Process Certificate, authenticating that required steps were taken in line with approved standard.
Dr. Chukwu commended the management of Ministry of Environment for ensuring that all projects being executed or awarded by their Ministry was in line with the provisions of the Financial Regulations of the state,
Speaking earlier, the leader of the delegation and the Abia State Commissioner for Environment, Mr Philemon Asonye Ogbonna, said that as capital projects executing ministry, he decided to take the management of his Ministry on a fact-finding, interactive meeting with the Due Process Office, adding that the essence of the meeting was to ensure that they worked in line with the approved standard of the state government in contract awards.
Mr Ogbonna expressed gratitude to Chukwu for meticulously guiding his management team on the current trends in contract awards and execution in the state, assuring that he would ensure strict compliance with all the required processes and would not hesitate to consult the Due Process Office for further guides.
A statement by Public Relations Officer of Due Process Office, Nkem Jasper Onyekere, indicated that the Director of Finance who is also the Director in Charge of the Ministry, Mr Udechukwu Ukachukwu, and the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics, Mr Sunday Chika, in a Vote of Thanks, said they were satisfied with the enlightenment by Dr Chukwu.