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Sustainable procurement could be described as an acquisition process whereby public and private organizations meet their needs of goods, services and works in a way that achieves value for money on a whole life-basis in terms of generating benefits not only to the organization, but to society and the economy at large, whilst minimizing damage on the environment. In addition, sustainable supply chain is the management of raw materials from suppliers to manufacturers/service provider to customer and back, with improvement of the social and environmental impacts explicitly considered.
It is important we make our procurement processes environmentally friendly and climate neutral, a process we can call "Green Procurement". Factors such as the efficient use of energy and resources, reclamation of mined sites, reforestation and eliminating wasteful practices that could lead to global warming and environmental pollution should be adopted. We need to develop sustainable procurement guidelines which will establish the criteria that may be used by any organization or procurement entity for the procurement of local order categories of goods, works and services in Nigeria. This we will say will be a good pacesetter towards being mindful and conscious about the environment in the sub-region, an example others will follow.
One should however note that procurement situations and market conditions are not the same everywhere and therefore there can be no straightforward solution to that effect. In this regard there is a need for an agency like the Public Procurement Authority to form under it a body with a sustainable development expertise or knowledge with a sole task of making sure we procure sustainably in all endeavor.
Strategies like corporate social responsibility, which affect ethics, citizenship and philanthropy where economic performance or the financial viability of a business organization balances with environmental and social responsibility should be encouraged.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Sustainable public procurement is increasingly recognized as an instrument of government policy and a lever for wider economic, social and environmental changes. OECD, (2007). In Nigeria, however there exist not a clear cut criteria, principles or guidelines for sustainable procurement of goods, works and services. In our quest as a nation in attaining sustainable development, and transiting into a full middle income status country, sustainable procurement must be our main focus.
Public and private organizations procure goods, works and services without consciously taking into consideration its impacts on the environment. Legislations to sustainable procurement in Nigeria are not clear cut, thus making the implementation process a cumbersome one. The Public Procurement Act (663) of 2003 for instance, lacks sustainability ingredients to help ensure green procurement. This resulted in local conditions and market, remaining devoid of Sustainable Procurement elements. Businesses in the country remain ignorant of the best sustainable procurement practices, since education in this field is limited. According to the Chief Executive Officer of Public Procurement Authority, Mr. Sallas-Mensah, in March 2013 Edition of Nigeria Business News, waste management and economic use of resources are some obvious challenges we face as a nation and sustainable Public Procurement can help address them to a larger extent. Despite the important role played by the procurement act, it appears that, government institutions go through a lot of lengthy bureaucratic processes in acquiring goods and services. This according to Nketia-Asante, (2009) leads to low productivity, inefficiency and loss of money and detrimental effect on
government. This study therefore looks at steps that should be carried out in Nigeria to maximize the benefits of sustainable procurement practice.
1.3 Research Questions
i. At what extent do procurement practices in Nigeria, embrace sustainability considerations?
ii. What are the potential challenges existing in procurement practices, which work against sustainable procurement in Nigeria, thus can help us move towards sustainable procurement?
iii. What recommendation would gear towards attaining sustainable procurement?
1.4 Objectives of the Study
The aim of this study is to evaluate the experiences of procurement officials on the nature and extent to which Procurement processes in Nigeria embraces Sustainability considerations and thus put in place necessary steps to mitigate such impacts. Specific objectives of the study are:
iv. To find out the extent to which procurement practices in Nigeria, embrace sustainability considerations.
v. To bring out the potential challenges existing in procurement practices, which work against sustainable procurement in Nigeria, thus helping us move towards sustainable procurement.
vi. To make recommendation geared towards attaining sustainable procurement
1.5 Significance of the Study
In both private and public sectors, there is increasing pressure from customers, clients, government and the public to put sustainable procurement into practice. The 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development stated that relevant authorities at all levels should:
"promote public procurement policies that encourage development and diffusion of environmentally sound goods and services". In response to this, Business Operators and Professionals have been very fast to institute policies and strategies embedding sustainable development concerns; for example the UK Strategy for Sustainable Consumption and Production. As a step towards implementing this strategy, the Government established the Advisory Committee on Consumer Products and the Environment. A Europe –wide study published in August 2009 found out that 80 percent of buyers initiated sustainable procurement programmes in 2008, while 90 percent see them as “critical” to the survival of their business (web news, 19 August 2009).
This study would help organizations practicing sustainable procurement meet their needs for goods, services, utilities and works not on a private cost-benefit analysis, but with a view to maximizing net benefits for themselves and the wider world. In so doing they must incorporate extrinsic cost considerations into decisions alongside the conventional procurement criteria of price and quality. These considerations are typically divided thus: Environmental, Economic and Social (also known as the “triple baseline”). The important areas of environmental concerns are; more efficient use of raw materials in manufacturing operations, pollution and waste, and energy savings.
Students of management sciences and other researchers who intend to carry out further studies will find this study as a useful reference material especially in their literature review and findings thereby helping to arrive at objective conclusions.
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of this study is on a broad base to cover sustainable procurement practices in Nigeria and it is to be in consonance with the Public Procurement Act (14), 2007 and global sustainable procurement.
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