BY DAYO ADESULU
For the first time in the history of higher education in Nigeria, the Federal Government is set to implement the Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement (SPESSE) Project for the production of experts in procurement, environmental and social standards in the country.
Six federal universities have been selected to host the Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Centres of Excellence (SPESSCEs) for the implementation. They are the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, (ATBU), Bauchi; Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria; the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM); the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO); University of Benin (UNIBEN) and University of Lagos (UNILAG).
SPESSE is a multi-sectoral project, with support from the World Bank, which seeks to address training, professionalisation and research in procurement, environmental and social standards, through certification, undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate studies; to support governance, increase transparency, competition, equal opportunity, sustainability as well as environmental and social standard management in the public and private sectors.
It will be implemented by the National Universities Commission (NUC), Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning; Federal Ministry of Environment and Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development.
Scheduled to be launched by the Vice-President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, GCON, at NUC, Abuja, on Thursday, October 28th, 2021; SPESSEaims to establish strategic partnerships with leading international research funding, research performing and international capacity building organisations and top-performing institutions.
While addressing a stakeholders’ meeting, recently, Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, said he was excited at the potentials of SPESSE and the possibilities that it offered both the public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy. He stated that the six Centres were selected through a very objective, competitive and rigorous selection process, while the project was designed with the full participation of the private sector, including the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, which represented the Industry in the design of the curricula by NUC.
By developing curricula aligned with international standards, setting up the Centres of Excellence and supplying qualified professionals, SPESSE will improve, significantly, Nigeria’s capacity for procurement, environmental and social standards. Structured training, based on well-defined curricula and advanced systems of monitoring graduates’ performance will improve transparency, integrity and management of the country’s procurement system and translate to more efficient use of public resources, reduction of procurement delays and improved contract management.
Professor Rasheed commended the Vice-Chancellors of the selected universities for the key roles they played in developing the winning proposals and urged them to continue to support the Centres for the benefit of their universities, the Nigerian University System (NUS) and the country in general.
The Project Task Team Leader at the World Bank, Chief Bayo Awosemusi, disclosed that SPESSE, being the first of its kind for both the World Bank and Nigeria, the country will be the hub for Africa and it would take the six selected universities to make that happen. He commended Professor Rasheed for his unprecedented commitment to success.