By Opeyemi Babalola
Six universities in Nigeria have been selected by the National Universities Commission (NUC) for the Sustainable Procurement, Environmental and Social Standards Enhancement (SPESSE) Project.
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.
Dr Joshua Atah, Project Coordinator, SPESSE Project Implementation Unit, National Universities Commission (NUC), who made the disclosure in a statement obtained by University Times International (UTI), said that the project is scheduled to be launched by the Vice-President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, at NUC on Thursday.
According to him, SPESSE aims to establish strategic partnerships with leading international research funding, research performing and international capacity building organisations and top performing institutions.
The universities selected are: the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa University, (ATBU), Bauchi; Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria; Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi (FUAM); Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO); University of Benin (UNIBEN) and University of Lagos (UNILAG).
“This is to support governance, increase transparency, competition, equal opportunity, sustainability as well as environmental and social standard management in the public and private sectors,” Dr Atah said.
He added that the project will be implemented by the 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.
While addressing a stakeholders’ meeting, recently, Executive Secretary of NUC, Professor Abubakar Adamu Rasheed, expressed satisfaction over 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.
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, would make the country a hub for Africa.