'Buyers need the same passion as entrepreneurs'

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
4 August 2014

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4 August 2014 | Will Green

Buyers should demonstrate passion for their work similar to that of entrepreneurs in order to cut costs and deliver public good, a conference was told.

Babs Omotowa, managing director and CEO of Nigeria LNG, told delegates the world faced challenges around poverty and underdevelopment and procurement professionals were well placed to “make a difference”.

“Good procurement is good for people, good for society,” he said.

“The world faces huge levels of poverty, huge levels of underdevelopment. These are issues that we as supply chain professionals, have a huge opportunity to make a difference. There is no better time for procurement and supply chain professionals to make a difference.”

Speaking at the CIPS Pan African Conference in Zambia, Omotowa said 70 per cent of countries in Africa had a GDP per capita of less than $20,000 (£11,878) and the continent had an unemployment rate of 40 per cent, rising to 70 per cent in some countries. He said 48 states in sub-Saharan Africa combined generated the same amount of power as Spain. “Road and rail systems are clearly not up to speed,” he said.

Omotowa said procurement was “an attractive instrument” for countries and businesses aiming to address these challenges.

“We will do a disservice to our profession if we are involved in delivering goods and services for our society that are not value for money,” he said.

“We need to drive similar passion into our procurement that entrepreneurs have. Those characteristics are important as we look to deliver cost reductions and public good.

“We have quite a major opportunity to make a difference as the world grapples with huge challenges. Procurement is an attractive instrument that countries and companies are looking at to solve those problems.”

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