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Nigeria

Implement Open Contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standard (NG0016)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Nigeria Action Plan 2019-2021

Action Plan Cycle: 2019

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Bureau of Public Procurement

Support Institution(s): BPP, Federal Ministry of Information, National Orientation Agency (NOA), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), Federal Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning Office of the Accountant General of the Federation, Budget Office of the Federation, Bureau of Public Service Reforms, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Offenses Related Commission (ICPC), NASS Committees on Procurement, OAuGF. Professional Entities, Alliances and Organizations One Campaign, Nigeria Private Sector Alliance (NIPSA), Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Procurement Professionals Association of Nigeria, Pan-Atlantic University, Institute of Software Professionals of Nigeria, Association of Indigenous Construction Contractors of Nigeria, PTCIJ CSOs 1. Public Procurement Monitoring Working Group (PPMWG) 2. Public and Private Development Centre 3. Niger Delta Budget Monitoring Working Group 4. INTEGRITY 5. Reboot 6. National Council on Women 7. WRAPPA 8. CBI Nigeria 9. National Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (NASME) 10. Media Rights Agenda 11. ILF 12. CSJ 13. Centre for Legal Research and Development (CLERD) 14. Transparency and Accountability and Totality (FollowTaxes)

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Anti-Corruption, Beneficial Ownership, Capacity Building, E-Government, Gender, Marginalized Communities, Open Contracting and Public Procurement, Open Data, Private Sector, Public Participation

IRM Review

IRM Report: Nigeria Design Report 2019-2021

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Brief description:
The Bureau of Public Procurement in line with the government commitment at the 2016 London Anti-corruption Summit deployed the first Nigerian Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO). The open contracting portal seeks to address issues around opacity, corruption, resource wastage and improve the quality of services delivered to Nigerians through wider stakeholder participation in the procurement spectrum. This will ultimately improve transparency and accountability of fiscal governance, better infrastructure and service delivery and public trust in governance.

The second phase of the NAP will prioritize timely data publication and availability, quality and use of published data by different categories of stakeholders for optimal results. This commitment will ensure inclusion of relevant actors, such as Women and Youth groups, Private sector stakeholders and State-Based Organizations to access, use and report on the impacts of published data.

Problem addressed:
Despite the deployment of NOCOPO, stakeholders are still faced with the challenge of accessing public finance data of value to them. In 2018, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation issued a circular (Ref. No PROC/BPP/045/I/89 dated 10th July 2018) to over 500 MDAs to publish their contractual information on NOCOPO. However, there are still high levels of non-compliance to the directive and unavailability of data across stages in the procurement cycle.

More so, open contracting discourse in Nigeria is yet to include key actors relevant in its sustainability and achievement of greater impacts. For example, private sector audiences are relevant in ensuring continuous data availability in making better and informed business decisions, while data on health-related projects are of greater interest to Women groups.

Specific OGP Issue:
Effective Implementation of open contracting to improve public service integrity and increasing the transparency of the procurement processes; inclusion of actors relevant in the discourse and use of published information for improved governance and service delivery.

Rationale for the commitment:
Open Contracting can offer the following values through the use of innovative technology to increase access to procurement information:
1. Transparency: The enhanced disclosure of procurement data and information across the entire procurement cycle and up to implementation stage, including beneficial owners of companies will make the procurement process more transparent and reveal how public resources are expended.
2. Accountability: The enhanced disclosure of procurement data and information will ensure that citizens understand the basis of decisions made along the procurement cycle. This will make the decision-makers take actions that reflect better use of public resources, knowing that their actions can be challenged through existing recourse mechanism.
3. Service Delivery: The use of open contracting helps the government to achieve value for money by providing a watchdog system that allows wider stakeholders to critique and monitor implementation of contracts. This ultimately checkmates unethical conduct and sharp corrupt practices in the processes of contract delivery.
4. Inclusion: Technology provides wider stakeholder participation in open contracting, thus limits human interface. This will allow stakeholders from all walks of life to interact, access, assess and give informed feedback on how government programs impact their lives.
5. Citizen engagement: Availability of procurement data across the entire procurement cycle and up to implementation will ensure that all stakeholders can monitor the procurement activities and provide feedback. This will ensure that public contracts are delivered with value for money achieved, thereby leading to increased service delivery.

Main objective:
To improve accountability and transparency of public procurement processes, promote wider stakeholder participation and better service delivery through the implementation of OCDS.

Anticipated impact:
The efficient procurement system is evident in better contracting outcomes and improved position in global rankings on public procurement.

See action plan for milestone activities.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

2. Operationalization of Open Contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standards (OCDS)

Main Objective

“To improve accountability and transparency of public procurement processes, promote wider stakeholder participation and better service delivery through the implementation of OCDS”

Milestones

  1. Capacity building for all MDAs for the use of NOPOCO. Capacity building for CSOs and private sector on the use of NOPOCO
  2. Capacity building for sensitization of citizens on how to engage at every stage of the procurement cycle in collaboration with other stakeholders
  3. Integrate the organized private sector and gender-based organizations into the existing open contracting Forum (PPMWG)
  4. Upgrade of the NOCOPO portal to reflect user feedback, private sector segment, contractual data and analytical tools for better user experience
  5. Increase engagement with available data sets through procurement monitoring by groups (CSOs, gender CSOs, private sector, etc.)
  6. Conduct an annual NOCOPO ranking in line with SGF’s circular, Public Procurement Act 2007 and BPP’s directive mandating data publication on NOCOPO
  7. Establish sustained integration of the Nigeria open contracting portal with the budgeting system and (e-government platform) EGP
  8. Inclusion of the requirement of the Beneficial ownership in public procurement

Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Nigeria’s action plan at https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/nigeria-action-plan-2019-2021/

Commitment Analysis

This commitment aims to improve the accountability of public procurement, building on Commitment 2 of Nigeria’s 2017–2019 OGP action plan. More than 60% of corruption cases in the country have been related to procurement procedures, [30] illustrating the need for better transparency and monitoring of public contracts. Under the previous action plan, the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) launched Nigeria’s Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO), an online portal to disclose contractual data. [31] The government also adopted the Open Contracting Disclosure Guideline, which regulates disclosure of contracts, projects, timelines, and publication on NOCOPO. [32] In July 2018, the government issued a circular requesting MDAs to submit procurement records and plans on NOCOPO within stipulated timelines, [33] which only eight MDAs complied with. [34] Additionally, the previous action plan did not succeed in establishing the National Procurement Council mandated by the 2007 Public Procurement Act. [35]

Under the current action plan, this commitment includes eight milestones. Milestone 2 continues from the previous action plan, aiming to conduct capacity building for citizens on engagement in the procurement cycle. The commitments’ new milestones seek to provide capacity building to MDAs on the use of the NOCOPO and to upgrade and integrate NOCOPO with the budgeting system and e-government platform. They also intend to encourage public participation by integrating women and private sector organizations into the Public Procurement Working Group (PPMWG) and by increasing CSO monitoring of datasets. Additionally, milestones envision an annual NOCOPO ranking and incorporation of a beneficial ownership disclosure requirement in public procurement.

This commitment is relevant to the OGP value of access to information and civic participation. The commitment seeks to enhance government bodies’ capacity to use NOCOPO and to upgrade and integrate it with government databases, thus improving access to information on public procurement. The commitment is also relevant to civic participation, as it envisions engagement of gender-based CSOs in PPMWG and enhancement of CSOs, private sector, and citizen procurement monitoring capacities. If fully implemented, this commitment could lead to moderate potential impact on disclosure of public procurement information and stakeholder engagement in monitoring efforts.

For a limited time, upgrading NOCOPO could help address deficiencies in user accessibility, improving data disclosure and monitoring opportunities. Because Nigeria is soon moving to an e-procurement system, NOCOPO will eventually be replaced. [36] This minimizes the long-term impact of milestones specific to NOCOPO. The Public Private Development Centre (PPDC), a CSO focused on procurement and contract monitoring in Nigeria, reported at the time of writing that the data on NOCOPO are not downloadable in a useable format, the domain frequently crashes, project sites are not geotagged, and award letters and contractor details are not available. [37] However, a representative from the Bureau of Public Procurement noted that the data are downloadable in JSON format and the domain's functionality has recently improved. [38] Yet citizen awareness of the portal has remained low. According to PPDC, this commitment has the potential to make NOCOPO more user-friendly and increase the number of contracts available on the portal. Under the previous action plan, NOCOPO was piloted with 8 MDAs, and the current plan intends to expand to many more MDAs. PPDC also anticipates that the availability of more contracts on the portal would subsequently lead to greater uptake by CSOs, media, and the general public. [39]

Capacity building for MDAs could address lack of technical skills on NOCOPO usage, [40] which the Bureau of Public Procurement has cited as one of the obstacles for uploading information on the portal. Improving capacity could lead to increasing the number of MDAs publishing on NOCOPO, which has been minimal so far. Capacity building for CSOs and citizens could substantially boost capabilities of CSOs to engage in procurement monitoring and increase citizens and journalists’ awareness of the opportunity to utilize NOCOPO’s data. [41] As Connected Development (CODE) notes, widening monitoring by these stakeholders could play an important role in restricting corrupt contracting practices. [42] However, as noted above, this capacity building will have limited relevance once NOCOPO is replaced.

The milestone to integrate gender-based and private sector organizations into PPMWG could improve the group’s efficacy. Currently, PPMWG includes only one gender-based organization and lacks active private sector participation. According to the Public Private Development Centre (PPDC) and the Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre, expanding the group’s membership to a larger number of gender-focused social accountability organizations could ensure greater PPMWG focus on key gender procurement issues. These include the number of women-owned businesses bidding and winning public contracts, the number of monitoring projects on gender procurement, and the impact of contracts on local female community members. [43]

Another important element of this commitment is the requirement for disclosure of beneficial ownership information for bidders participating in public procurement. This milestone is unlikely to be achieved without a legislative requirement mandating companies’ disclosures. The Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre (CISLAC), a CSO focused on combating corruption, notes that reliable disclosure of beneficial ownership information has previously been limited by the absence of legislative requirements for disclosure of beneficial ownership under the Companies and Allied Matters Act (CAMA). [44] Commitment 6 of the current action plan addresses changes to CAMA and the development of a beneficial ownership register.

Despite the focus on improving the portal and user engagement, the commitment falls short of transformative potential impact given that NOCOPO is expected to be replaced. Additionally, the commitment does not address the incentives for contracting authorities to publish their contracts. It also leaves out the establishment and constitution of the National Procurement Council and of explicit sanctions or mechanisms to enforce compliance with circular 18 of 2018, the Public Procurement Act, and Freedom of Information Act. The absence of a National Procurement Council implies the lack of oversight and the remaining exclusive ability of the Federal Executive Council (FEC) to approve contracts. [45]

Transparency in public procurement is an important policy area for Nigeria. In implementing this commitment, the Open Contracting Partnership recommends focusing on disclosure and use of open contracting data standard (OCDS) rather than of NOCOPO specifically. Additionally, high-level political support could play an important role in encouraging MDAs to publish. [46] The IRM recommends continuing efforts in this area in the country’s next national action plan. It would be important to honor the earlier commitment of establishing the National Procurement Council and actively exploring means of encouraging MDAs to publish their contracting information.

[30] Nigeria Open Contracting Portal (NOCOPO). Observatory of Public Sector Innovation. OECD, 2017, in https://oecd-opsi.org/innovations/nigeria-open-contracting-portal-nocopo/
[31] “Investment Climate Statements. Custom Report Excerpts: Nigeria,” Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, US. Department of State, in https://www.state.gov/report/custom/97f9842522-2/
[33] “Circular Ref. No. PROC/BPP/045/I/89. Submission of Procurement Records for 2017, Financial Year And Procurement Plans for 2018 Financial Year”, Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, 10 July 2018, in https://www.osgf.gov.ng/storage/app/media/uploaded-files/SUBMISSION%20OF%20PROCUREMENT%20RECORDS%20FOR%202017%20FINANCIAL%20YEAR%20AND%20PROCUREMENT%20PLANS%20FOR%202018%20FINANCIAL%20YEAR.pdf
[34] Ifeoma Judith Onyebuchi (Public Private Development Centre), interview with IRM, 26 June 2020.
[35] Martins Oloja, 13 May 2018, Public Procurement Council to be Inaugurated!”, The Guardian, in https://guardian.ng/opinion/public-procurement-council-to-be-inaugurated/
[36] Carey Kluttz (Open Contracting Partnership), email correspondence with IRM, 24 July 2020.
[37] Ifeoma Judith Onyebuchi (Public Private Development Centre), interview with IRM, 26 June 2020
[38] Mansur Mamman, (Bureau of Public Procurement), public comment submitted to IRM staff on 19 October 2020.
[39] Ifeoma Judith Onyebuchi (Public Private Development Centre), interview with IRM, 26 June 2020
[40] “BPP trains MDAs on new portal to enhance transparency in procurement process,” Business 24 7 News, 14 October 2019, in, https://business247news.com/2019/10/14/bpp-trains-mdas-on-new-portal-to-enhance-transparency-in-procurement-process/
[41] Ifeoma Judith Onyebuchi (Public Private Development Centre), interview with IRM, 26 June 2020.
[42] Mukhtar Modibbo Halilu (Connected Development), email correspondence with IRM, 24 July 2020.
[43] Ifeoma Judith Onyebuchi (Public Private Development Centre), interview with IRM, 26 June 2020; Emem J. Okon (Kebetkache Women Development & Resource Centre), email correspondence with IRM, 9 July 2020.
[44] Chinedu Bassey (Civil Society Legislative Advocacy Centre), interview with IRM, 18 June 2020.
[45] “Like predecessors, Buhari ends first term violating Nigeria’s procurement law”, Premium Times Nigeria, 29 May 2019, in https://www.premiumtimesng.com/news/headlines/332193-like-predecessors-buhari-ends-first-term-violating-nigerias-procurement-law.html
[46] Carey Kluttz (Open Contracting Partnership), email correspondence with IRM, 24 July 2020.

Commitments

  1. Participatory Budgeting

    NG0015, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  2. Implement Open Contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standard

    NG0016, 2019, Access to Information

  3. Transparent Tax Revenue Reporting

    NG0017, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  4. Open Contracting and Licensing in Extractives

    NG0018, 2019, Access to Information

  5. Implement EITI Standard

    NG0019, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  6. Establish Beneficial Ownership Registry

    NG0020, 2019, Access to Information

  7. Strengthen Asset Recovery Legislation

    NG0021, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  8. Implement National Anti-Corruption Strategy

    NG0022, 2019, Anti-Corruption

  9. Improve Compliance with Freedom of Information Act with Focus on Records Management

    NG0023, 2019, Access to Information

  10. Improved Compliance with Mandatory Publication Provisions Requirement (FOIA)

    NG0024, 2019, Access to Information

  11. Implement Permanent Dialogue Mechanism

    NG0025, 2019, Dispute Resolution & Legal Assistance

  12. Aggregate Citizens' Feedback on Programs

    NG0026, 2019, E-Government

  13. Freedom of Association, Assembly, and Expression

    NG0027, 2019, Civic Space

  14. Enhance Participation of the Vulnerable

    NG0028, 2019, Capacity Building

  15. Implement New Computer Program in 6 Government Ministries to Improve Service Delivery

    NG0029, 2019, Capacity Building

  16. Legal Instrument to Strengthen SERVICOM

    NG0030, 2019, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Citizen Participation in Budget Cycle

    NG0001, 2017, Access to Information

  18. Open Contracting

    NG0002, 2017, Access to Information

  19. Extractive Sector Transparency

    NG0003, 2017, Access to Information

  20. Tax Reporting Standards

    NG0004, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  21. World Bank Doing Business Index

    NG0005, 2017, Infrastructure & Transport

  22. Beneficial Ownership Register

    NG0006, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  23. Anti-Corruption Informationi Sharing

    NG0007, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  24. Asset Recovery Legislation

    NG0008, 2017, Capacity Building

  25. Anti-Corruption Activity Coordination

    NG0009, 2017, Anti-Corruption

  26. FOIA Compliance for Annual Reporting

    NG0010, 2017, Access to Information

  27. FOIA Compliance for Disclosure

    NG0011, 2017, Access to Information

  28. Permanent Dialogue Mechanism

    NG0012, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  29. Joint Governmnet-Civil Society Legislation Review

    NG0013, 2017, Fiscal Openness

  30. Technology-Based Citizens' Feedback

    NG0014, 2017, E-Government

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