It is sad that some projects approved by the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for sustainable national development have not been executed due to lack of adequate monitoring. As a result, public funds are wasted while the country is deficient in infrastructural facilities. It is, therefore, heartening that the Federal Government has commenced physical monitoring and evaluation of these projects already approved by the FEC. The affected projects cover those approved and implemented between 2017 and 2018. The Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Chief George Akume, who disclosed this, said the aim of the exercise is to ensure that budgetary allocations are judiciously utilised for the development of the country. According to the government, the exercise will stabilise the macroeconomy, improve transportation, enhance social inclusion and reduce poverty. It will also achieve agriculture and food security, drive industrialisation and ensure energy and power sufficiency.
The physical monitoring, which began some weeks ago, has covered the North East, South South and South East geopolitical zones. It is currently ongoing in the North Central, North East and South West geopolitical zones. The monitoring is also in fulfillment of the government’s promise to establish a delivery unit to coordinate the tracking and monitoring of FEC approved policies, programmes and projects, in line with the priority areas of the government. The list of projects approved and implemented include, but not restricted to those executed by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Ministries of Water Resources, Works and Housing, Power, Aviation, Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) and the Federal Fire Service. For effective monitoring of these projects, the government has organised a sensitisation workshop in collaboration with the Ministry of Budget and National Planning and the selected Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). We welcome the monitoring of these projects nationwide and urge that the exercise be thoroughly done. We also enjoin the monitoring team to identify all the projects involved, the level of completion and performance by the contractors. It should also identify those projects not executed and those abandoned midway.
Unfortunately, the implementation of many projects has been stunted due to lack of adequate monitoring. The non-execution of some of these projects has invariably affected the nation’s economic growth. In fact, across the six geopolitical zones, many projects that should have facilitated development of infrastructure were abandoned by contractors after collecting mobilisation fees. Therefore, close monitoring and appraisal of approved projects will ensure accountability in the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs). Available statistics show that under the Ministry of Works and Housing, there are over 200 ongoing highway projects covering 7, 483km and N2.4trillion worth of contracts, most of them approved and implemented by FEC since 2017. Some of these projects are funded by internal and external loans as well as Sukuk bonds. One of them include the second Niger Bridge, which government says will be completed by the first quarter of 2022. Recent figures from the Minister of Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola (SAN), showed that there are over 600 roads across the states that need to be monitored and evaluated to ensure that they measure up to the standards agreed with the contractors. Among the projects being executed by the Ministry of Works and Housing are Bodo-Bonny Bridge, Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, Abuja-Kaduna Highway, scheduled for completion in the first quarter of 2022. Others include Kano-Maiduguri Road, Benin-Lokoja Highway, Onitsha-Owerri-Aba Road and many other highways covering over 826.84km. Similar projects exist in the Water Resources, Aviation, FCT, and NPA which is handling the dredging of the Eastern ports to ease port congestion in the Apapa and Tin Can Island ports. With less than three years left for the present administration of President Buhari, it has become necessary to monitor the approved projects to determine their impact on sustainable national development. Undoubtedly, the legacy of the present administration will, to a large extent, be determined by how it delivered on its promise in infrastructure development. We believe that the completion of these projects will engender job opportunities, investors’ confidence, ease of doing business and improve governance.