NEMA Allocated N10.3b in 15 Months–DG
The Director General of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Engr. Mustapha Maihaja said the agency has not in any way circumvented or violated due process in the award of contracts for the nation’s emergency needs.
He also said the agency was forced to approach the Presidency for the procurement of emergency materials for the North-East because development partners withdrew 85 percent of their funding support for the region.
He said contrary to allegations, NEMA cannot award any procurement contract worth more than N300 million.
He insisted that he has acted in good faith and with respect for accountability and transparency since he was made the DG in April 2017.
He said NEMA was allocated N10.322billion from the Ecological Funds between January 2017 to date.
He however clarified that he took over as the DG in April 2017
Maihaja made the clarifications at a public hearing by the House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness on alleged violation of public trust in NEMA.
The committee confronted the agency with alleged due process infractions in the award of N3.1b procurement of 10,000 metric tons of rice for emergency purposes in the North-East between 2017 and 2018.
The Committee also questioned the agency why an officer other than a Procurement officer had to sign award letters.
Maihaja said NEMA was forced to approach the Presidency for the procurement of the materials for the North-East because development partners withdrew 85 percent of their funding support for the region.
While availing the committee with the copy of the approval letter, the DG said the agency cannot award a procurement contract that is more than N300m.
He said: “We insist that due process be followed on procurement since my assumption of duties in April 2017 because different methods were used before then with serious resistance from within and outside.
“Today NEMA is one of the most investigated agencies but due process was followed in our procurements.
“On the 10,000 metric tons of rice, we complied with the Procurement Act, the agency sought Presidential approval for the procurement 10,000 metric tons of rice at N3.1b for emergency purposes in the Northeast.
“The approval was signed by the Vice President in a letter by the Deputy Chief of Staff. The contract was awarded to two companies as well as logistics companies for delivery. The contractors don’t get paid until deliveries are confirmed by the recipient agencies.
“Also, the deliveries directly to NEMA are taken to our warehouses across the country and confirmed by our store officers before payments are made”.
When questioned why the Director (Relief) had to sign contract award letters rather than a Procurement officer, Maihaja said the agency had no Procurement officer as at that time.
According to him, there was no Procurement Unit in the agency as at the time of his assumption of duty.
He said junior Planning officers were performing the duties.
He added: “Junior Planning officers cannot sign the contract award and being an emergency situation, in all sincerity, the Director Relief was asked to sign the documents.
“We also have a comprehensive store system as well as other mechanisms for confirmation of delivery of relief materials.
“My action was done with utmost sincerity, there was no intention to sidetrack anyone in this responsibility. We have a store system and other units to take charge of materials, the Director Relief is not in charge of stores.”
The DG said the sources of the agency’s funding include Ecological Fund which was N10.3b in the period under review as well as from Appropriation Act.
He also made available to the committee list of the agency’s accounts, list of companies with awarded contracts and the award letters, including list of donors and donations.
While declaring the hearing open, Speaker Yakubu Dogara said there were a number of disasters unattended to in the country over the period which was a shame.
Represented by the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker said the intervention of the House was as a result of allegations of negligence from victims who complained of late and often inadequate arrival of relief materials.
The Deputy Chairman of the committee Ali Isa said the investigation was not meant to witch-hunt anyone but aimed at making the agency better in meeting its set objectives.
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