The Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, on Thursday said that the era of buying government contracts is over in the state, noting that his administration would create a transparent and open contracting system to ensure those who can add value participate in project execution.
Obaseki disclosed this while addressing a group of contractors under the aegis of Edo State Indigenous Contractors Forum, who were on a courtesy visit to the governor at the Government House, Benin City.
According to him, “We guarantee you continuity for you so you can build your businesses. I want to thank you for your kind words and for identifying with what we stand for.
“Clearly, we were not aware of the criticisms that followed our choice of giving work to those who have the capacity to work; you bid for contracts directly with the state and you will get your contracts.
“You don’t have to buy contracts from anybody unlike what obtained in the past. I am glad that you could identify that the phenomenon of godfatherism in politics is what created an impediment for people like you to prosper in your businesses.
“Before now, you had to go through godfathers to get contracts, even if you had competences to do the job.
“That way, you are not able to optimize the value of your investments. I saw the challenge and I resolved that we must break that pattern. I want to thank you for your support in changing the political paradigm.
“That system cannot continue in Edo; we will advertise jobs, as we have always done and those who are qualified will be given the work and contracts directly. We will be going through a verification process of all our indigenous contractors to make sure that they are real contractors and that they have invested in their real businesses.”
He continued: “We will not give contracts to those business names anymore. If you are contractor, you must have your offices and you must have made some real investment in your business. We want to verify all of you to know that you have the capacity to carry out the work and not that you will go and sell it to another person.
“The reason why we are doing this is not farfetched; we want to build a class of local contractors who have the capacity to grow our contracting businesses in Edo.
“There is nothing foreign contractors are doing that you cannot do; the only difference is that they have more investment in their businesses. They are able to buy more equipment and hire more qualified professionals. That is the advantage they have over us.”
Earlier, Acting Chairman of the group, Mr. Henry Okpamen, said that they are proud to be associated with the governor’s rare quality of governance and promised to join his dynamic team in ensuring that his second term is successful.