The attention of Lagos Water Corporation has been drawn to the write-up, published the Development Cable of Wednesday, May 7th 2017, with the above caption by Mr. Akinbode Oluwafemi, Deputy Director, Environmental Right Actions/Friends of the Earth Nigeria (ERA/FoEN), urging the State Governor, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, to allow transparent and Competitive bidding in the selection of Companies to carry out rehabilitation of Waterworks in the State.
Having painstakingly perused the complaints and points raised in the write-up, it becomes necessary to put the facts on the selection process in the public domain not only for the writer to be well informed, but also to clear doubt among the stakeholders.
First, Lagos State Government established Lagos State Procurement Agency on the 2nd of April, 2012 under the Lagos State Public procurement Law, 2011 with the assigned responsibility of ensuring probity, accountability and transparency in Public Procurement in Lagos State. And the present administration of Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is committed to strict compliance of the Public Procurement procedure in all the Government transactions in the State.
I want to state emphatically, that His Excellency, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is highly committed to ensuring that Water runs in every home in the State. That is why; he approved the rehabilitation of 48 Waterworks across the State. In Compliance with his directive, Lagos Water Corporation commenced the bidding process for rehabilitation of the waterworks in conformity with the laid down rules and regulations as contained in the Lagos State Public Procurement Law of 2011.
Prior to the bidding process, the Expression of Interest as Contractors/Consultants/Suppliers to LWC was advertised on 19th January, 2017 in the three National Newspapers, namely – Punch, The Nation and Guardian. The prospective firms expressed their interest, through submission of proposals; standard evaluation process was carried out in accordance with the Lagos State Public Procurement Agency (LPPA) on category and class basis, and the firms were shortlisted into Lagos Water Corporation contractors, Consultants and Suppliers database, after which the contracts were arranged in lots of ten, representing the existing ten Regional Business Districts of Lagos Water Corporation.
The standard procurement documents were prepared for the contracts and LWC sought for, and received (No Objection) approval from Lagos State Public Procurement Agency. Due to the emergency nature of the work, tendering method of procurement was used to effect the contract, considering the listed contractors on the database, based on relevant experience as evaluated from the Expression of Interest.
As part of due process, standard procurement document as approved by Lagos State Public Procurement Agency, was issued (sold) to 93 firms shortlisted from Lagos Water Corporation database who submitted their bids within 14 days according to the provision of the procurement law for Selection Tendering Process.
The bid opening was done on the 4th April, 2017, at the LWC Headquarter, Boardroom, Lagos in the presence of all bidders who submitted their bids, as well as their representatives, where the directors of the firms were not present. The evaluation exercise was however, carried out on all the bids submitted during bid opening in accordance with the requirements of the issued bidding document. Ten most responsive lowest bidders were considered for each of the lots, while other bidders that were not successful due to the non-responsiveness of their technical and financial bids were rejected in accordance with the requirements of the bidding documents.
After completion of the process, the Evaluation Reports were submitted to Lagos State Public Procurement Agency for non-concurrence. The Certificate of Compliance to award the Agency (LPPA) issued the contracts, the awards were done accordingly, the documentary evidences of all the procurement processes carried out, and approvals are kept for record purpose.
I want to place on record without any iota of doubt, that the Lagos Water Corporation conducted the process of selection of the Contractors in strict compliance with due process. As explicitly explained above, it is highly mendacious to say that the process was not done in public, as all the prospective bidders were invited to witness the opening of the bids.
In spite of the fact that the firms selected are reputable, with proven records of accomplishment and technical proficiency to carry out the rehabilitation work effectively, it is unfair and rebarbative on the part of the writer to have alleged that the process was devoid of transparency and was being hijacked by politicians and people close to the Government without proper findings.
I want to unequivocally state that Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode is totally committed to provision of water to Lagosians, and will never compromise interest of good people of Lagos in his drive to expand Water facilities that will guarantee sufficient and uninterrupted supply to every home.
In as much as the LWC welcomes constructive criticisms, the Management is averse to unfounded diatribe capable of negating relentless efforts of the Corporation towards ensuring regular supply of Water in the State.
Succinctly put, Lagos Water Corporation is the State water Agency that carries out its functions in an explicit and transparent manner and ready to provide information, to information seekers. Therefore, the writer is strongly advised to always carry out his findings before running to the Press to cast unnecessary slur on Lagos Water Corporation.
Head, Corporate Communications,
Lagos Water Corporation