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Airuoyo: Economic opportunities are lost when projects are unduly delayed


Vice President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo (fourth right), flanked by Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, his deputy, Idiat Adebule and others, during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Lagos-Ibadan Railway Project, earlier in the year.

Osaretin Airuoyo, a project management consultant, in this chat with GBENGA SALAU, explained the dire implications of the non-completion of the Lagos Rail Project.

The Lagos Rail Project is in its 10th year and still uncompleted. What could be the possible reasons?
I am not the project consultant on this project, so the specifics I canít give. However, having worked on similar government projects, the likely reasons for delays in the completion of projects are poor planning of the project; poor communication, reporting and project status update; government delay; unqualified contractor; government bureaucracy in payment; external factors like politics; community upheavals and sometimes, additional works to the initial project description.

But how come similar rail projects in other climes are done and dusted within specified periods?
All projects are not the same. Like the likely reasons for delay were listed above, bottlenecks in projects differ. We canít hide the fact that corruption may have played a role, like either the government officials trying to exploit the contractor, or the contractor trying to cheat the people including government, but the best approach to answer this questions is to investigate properly the specific project.Not keeping project deadline must come at a cost to both the government and the governed

The cost implications for not keeping to projectsí deadlines vary with contract. I cannot make a categorical statement with this project because I am not certain of its details. In a fixed contract, the contractor bears all the burden of paying for resources after the scheduled end date, whereas in a cost plus contract, the government pays the actual cost, purchases or other generated expenses.Also, there is the cost attached to losing confidence in either the contractor or the government.

Not meeting contract deadlines must surely affect government policies and planning?
When the government was planning for the rail project, different agencies would have been involved like the transport, finance, budget, and technology ministries to mention a few. All these agencies would have made plans on how the project would affect the ease of movement, its return on investment, employability, among others.
Is it not obvious that the taxpayer is the one that is now made to pay for the delay in completing the job?The structure of the contract would determine if taxpayers would bear the burden if there is an upward review of the contract sum.

The economic implication of failure to meet several datelines must be dire?
Proximity to industries, raw materials among other indices often lead variably or invariably to the increment in productivity and the development of a particular state or nation. So, failure to meet deadlines will deprive citizens the luxury of getting access to the opportunities the completion of the rail project could have provided. The non-completion of the project is also expected to affect the wellbeing of citizens due to stress that residents on that axis go through thereby reducing their lifespan.

There is also the distrust for the government, as promises would have been made even during political campaigns.However, the completion of the rail project would help increase the rate of development on the rail corridor. This will have the multiplier effect of creation of jobs, as well as, help boost sources of revenue for government.

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