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Breaking the jinx of project abandonment - Daily Independent

By The Citizen
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The almost ingrained culture of abandoning projects in Nigeria by a new government when the previous one leaves office brings into focus the need to entrench a continuity approach to governance, especially with projects that have direct positive impact on the socio-economic wellbeing of the citizenry.

Indeed, successive governments over time have abandoned programmes and capital projects of their predecessors thereby making Nigeria a Junk-Yard of abandoned projects worth billions of Naira.

According to a survey conducted by a Project Audit Commission set up by President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011, an estimated 11, 886 Federal Government projects have been abandoned in the past 40 years across the country with an estimated worth of about N7.78 trillion to complete. For instance, the multi-billion dollar Ajaokuta Steel Complex and other Federal Government owned steel firms across the country had been abandoned due to a combination of policy inconsistency and corruption.

Undoubtedly, it is obvious that the lack of political will to ensure policy continuity is, definitely one of the reasons why important capital projects are abandoned coupled with the hydra-headed monster of corruption.

Moreover, when projects are abandoned, the usual reasons given are lack of funds, and project management deficits. But section 4(2) (b) of the Public Procurement Act 2007, provides that all procurement shall be 'based only on procurement plans supported by prior budgetary appropriations; and no procurement proceedings shall be formalized until the procuring entity has ensured that funds are available to meet the obligations and has obtained a 'Certificate of 'No objection' to Contract Award' from the Bureau'. In other words, no contract should be awarded if funds are not available for it from the start. In fact, abandonment of projects in Nigeria is a violation of the Procurement Act, and reflects monumental corruption and waters down public confidence in government.

More so, perhaps because of fear that their predecessors may take credit for programmes and projects they started, there is always the penchant for incoming governments, especially of deferent parties and sometimes even of the same party affiliation to abandoned projects.

The incoming government at the Federal and State levels must break the jinx and understand that building on the successes of the previous administration is one of the hallmarks of service to the people, as abandoning them will translate to playing needless politics with the future of the country.

As new governments take over the reins of leadership at all levels, come May 29th, we urge them to ensure that valuable resources of the country are not wasted by way of abandoning capital projects and some of the good programmes of the Jonathan administration. Politics and governance, world over, have gone beyond that.