Senate sets up ad hoc committee to probe 11,866 abandoned projects

Sharon EboesomiMay 24, 20246 min

The Senate called for an urgent need to look into the 11,866 Mega Projects abandoned by the Federal Government.

Senate sets up ad hoc committee to probe abandoned projects

The Senate has set up an Ad-hoc committee to investigate the number of important projects abandoned across Nigeria in all sectors.

The ad hoc committee is also saddled with the responsibility of recommending appropriate actions to be taken to reduce project abandonment in Nigeria and a way forward to address how most of the projects can be recovered.

This resolution followed the adoption of a motion on the urgent need to look into the 11,866 Mega Projects abandoned by the Federal Government during Thursday’s plenary.

In his lead debate, the sponsor of the motion, Senator Jimoh Ibrahim (APC, Ondo South) disclosed that in 2011, President Goodluck Jonathan set up a Presidential committee on federal government abandoned projects in Nigeria. 

READ ALSO: Corruption, politics, litigation, the root cause of Nigeria’s abandoned projects – Senator Sani  

Senator Ibrahim noted that the committee visited the 36 states in Nigeria and identified 11,866 projects abandoned by the Federal Government since Nigeria’s independence in 1960.

He said, “According to reports, about 63% of the entire projects since independence were abandoned. Even when a project is successfully delivered it usually comes with an overrun of about 40% while most delivered projects record 10% underperformance;

“The 63% of projects abandoned in Nigeria is worse than any country under comparison. The abandonment of the project is of significant concern because of project costs which constitute a significant part of the GDP. While spending on a public project in the UK is now about one trillion British pounds Nigeria has no idea of the total amount spent on public projects either successful or unsuccessful since independence.”

According to the lawmaker, the cost overrun and benefits shortfall over and over again of projects in Nigeria is important.

He said, “For instance in the investigation carried out at the University of Cambridge doctorate in management science between 2018 and 2022, the value of the 38 projects investigated cost Nigeria over $40 billion.

“What is now key to this investigation is the need to look inward at our infrastructural development as Foreign Direct investment declined from $8.8b in 2011 to $3.3 billion in 2019, and the current account balances in that year from $10.6 billion to 5-17 billion, while the population was growing around 5% about 86% of the citizen, were living under $2 between 2011 and 2019. Public debt increased from 17% of the GDP in 2011 to 29% in 2019.

“The government has the responsibility to set up a professional system that will deliver the critical value from major infrastructure development for its citizens and for 66% of projects to be abandoned since 1960 is nothing less than a calamity that reduces our pride as a ‘Giant of Africa’ if we are still one and every stakeholder should be concerned with giving support for a legitimate solution while the government have the responsibility to act. Let me also say that it is now the case that three abandoned projects out of the 11,886 projects are over 30% of the national debt for instance on Ajaokunta over 5 10 billion was spent without any production needless to talk on the Sure-P project or the Second Niger Bridge.”

Ibrahim lamented over projects like the National Library, Lagos Badagry Express Road, Calabar Power Plant, Zungery Dam, Mambilla site, Otiukpo Dam, Nigeria Satellite, Nitel, Calabar sea Port, Abuja mass housing project which have remained abandoned to date.

He noted that project abandonment has been a syndrome of national development particularly when it is centered on basic infrastructure.

Over 66% of Federal Government projects have been abandoned since Nigeria’s independence in 1960.

“The implication of very many projects abandoned could be seen on the economy practically as the Direct Investment declined from $8.8b in 2011 to $3.3 billion in 2019, and the current account balances in that year from 510.6 billion to $-17 billion while the population was growing by around 5% about 86% of the citizens were living under 52 a day between 2011 and 2019. Public debt increased from 17% of the GDI in 2011 to 29% in 2019.”

Supporting the motion, Senator Isah Jibrin (APC, Kogi East) called for a proper profiling of all the abandoned projects.

On his part, Senator Orji Uzor Kalu (APC, Abia North) said the country will be unable to industrialise without steel production.

Why would Nigeria be suffering on what ought to have been done? We are supposed to convert that money and build these industries for debt repayment and save the interest we pay.

“We should appeal to President Bola Tinubu, maybe in the 2026, and 2027 budgets, we dedicate it to all these industries.

”They are our own. If we do not do it we will not move forward,” he said.

The President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, thereafter urged the ad-hoc committee to commence legislative action and report back in one month.

STAR Check: Nigerians, particularly, constituents of Ondo South district, can keep tabs on the legislative performance of Sen. Jimoh throughout the 10th senate here. 

Sharon Eboesomi

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