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Imperative of Project Continuity for National Development

It is on record that when a new government from a different political party replaces an incumbent in the country, on-going projects, programs and policies suddenly become abandoned and terminated. 

The newcomers would want to have their own ideas implemented, regardless of the credibility of previous policies and projects.

Most times these projects have impacted positively on the lives of the citizenry.

In a 2019 report of a Civil Society Organization, on the nineteen projects of the Federal government it monitored in twelve states of the federation, no fewer than fifteen projects had been abandoned or unexecuted.

A look at construction of projects embarked upon by successive government revealed that there are many abandoned projects scattered across the country.

In the words of a former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Procurement, Emeka Eze, there are nineteen thousands of such projects in various stages of abandonment.

The figure does not include projects begun and abandoned by state governments.

Evidently, many of such projects exist in the records of successive governments, unfortunately, Nigeria is not the only country where governmental projects are begun and abandoned.

For instance, in the United Kingdom, there was the abandoned internet technology projects which is an elaborate National Health Service patient record system, whose abandonment cost the taxpayers 10 billion pounds.

Obviously, no public sector in the world is protected from waste, poor judgment, indiscretion and even corruption which in many cases produce abandoned projects, resulting in significant loss of public revenue.

The various anti-corruption programme, with its limitations, seeks to redress this anomalies with little result to show for it as government contracts have become the major avenue for siphoning public wealth into private accounts.

Unfortunately, the programme has not yielded much result as nobody has been brought to book over these abandonments.

To address the situation, governments both federal and state need to do an audit of all abandoned projects so that sanctions should be meted out to those found culpable of deliberately denying citizens from enjoying the dividends of good governance.

For Nigeria to take its rightful position among the comity of nations, a concrete and decisive step must be taken to ensure the sustainability of government programs and projects initiated by past administrations as governance is a continuum.

In addition, the machinery of government should be streamlined to reduce duplication of projects by different arms of government, often embarking on them in an overlapping manner.

There is also the need for the creation of project management office with its responsibilities to include developing and maintaining projects, providing administrative support and supervision to projects, as well as providing management training for project executors.

Government agencies such as offices of the bureau of public enterprises, the bureau of public procurements, as well as the infrastructure concession regulatory commission, should be merged for better oversight and monitoring of projects at the federal level while state governments can equally set up projects monitoring committee to track ongoing projects and prevent abandonment that will lead to mismanagement of public resources.

Fawzeeyah Kasheem

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