The major reason for the high number of abandoned projects in Nigeria is corruption.
It has become a habit for top political office holders to approve funds for a project, but divert the said funds for personal gains after work has begun on site. It is not news that politicians use projects as an excuse to plunder the country’s treasury and waste taxpayers money.
A recent survey carried out by the Chartered Institute of Project Management of Nigeria gave a shocking revelation on the number of abandoned projects scattered across the country. What was most shocking in the report was that the abandoned projects with regards to the structure(s) already on ground amount to over N12 trillion.
This is a major cause for concern because the amount is more than double of the country’s total budgetary allocation for a year. Why has such a huge amount of money been wasted when the country wallows in under-development and poverty? There is no denying that if that amount was used judiciously, the country will be in a better state.
According to the Director of Administration of the Institute, Mr. David Godswill Okoronkwo, there were at the time of compilation of the survey report, approximately 56,000 abandoned government projects across the country’s geopolitical zones.
A report by a reputable media organization in the country states that the breakdown of the abandoned projects shows that 15,000 of them are in the South-East, 11,000 in the South-South, 10,000 in the South-West, 6000 in the North-West, 7000 in the North-Central, 5000 in North-East, and 2000 in Abuja.
Among the notable abandoned projects is the Monorail project initiated by the immediate past administration in Rivers State. The project was designed to cover 12 kilometers at the cost of N50 billion but was abandoned at only 2.6 km. It was designed to ease transportation problems in the state.
Other abandoned projects include the Minna Airport City in Niger State, reportedly awarded at the cost of $600 million, Minna five-star hotel, at N19.6bn, and Abia International Hotel, which needs N6bn for its completion.
Also listed among the abandoned projects in the report are the $25m expanded Jos Main Market which requires N5bn for rebuilding, and the N41bn Akwa Ibom Specialist Hospital (already completed but allegedly shut down.
No country in Africa, especially Nigeria can afford to waste much-needed funds the way it currently does. Political leaders who award contracts just to squander the funds released must be brought to book.
In fact, it should be a law that governments officials leaving office should be made to answer questions regarding the abandoned projects which they approved. They must explain what happened to the funds that were released and what happens after they leave the office.
Another aspect that should be looked into is the area of continuity. Government officials coming into power should be made to continue from where the previous government stopped. They should make conscious efforts to complete on-going projects before commencing new ones and they should not approve contracts whose completion time frame exceeds their tenure in office.
The time has come when political leaders, especially those who exploit their countries through awarding contracts and abandoning the projects halfway, should be held accountable for their actions.
What are your thoughts?
Header Image Credit: Nigeria Electricity Hub