…Reveals cause of abandoned projects
By Ignatius Chukwu
Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State has revealed how he completed 1000km of roads in eight years, saying 890km is ready and the rest would be commissioned in a few days’ time.
The governor disclosed that by adopting a realistic procurement law and budgetary system, his administration has in less than eight years achieved this feat including dualised ones.
Wike thus urged the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), which had an event in Port Harcourt, to canvas for review of the procurement act to shorten project life so that the budget would get fatter sums to work faster and deliver in a shorter time.
The governor spoke to COREN during the inauguration of the Rivers State Technical Committee (RSTC) and Rivers State Expatriate Monitoring Committee of Engineering Regulation at the Nigerian Society for Engineer’s secretariat in Port Harcourt in the week.
Wike listed other major feats in the construction sub-sector saying: “We have done drainages of over 493 Km in the past seven to eight years. We have done flyovers and overpasses of over 11km in just four years. We have done several rivers crossing bridges of three kilometres. When I say three km, some maybe 300 metres long, some maybe 400 metres long.”
Gov Wike said the adoption of a practicable procurement law and a realistic budget system will help eliminate the problem of incessant requests for variation in the construction industry.
The governor said such advocacy by COREN has become imperative because the current procurement life cycle in the country, and the inadequate budgetary system, are the primary reasons for the prevalence of abandoned projects.
The governor, who was represented by the Commissioner for Works, George-Kelly Dakorinama Alabo, attributed the infrastructural feat achieved by his administration to the proactive budgetary system adopted by the State government.
According to him, in every given year, over 70 percent of the State budget is dedicated to capital expenditure and 30 or less to recurrent expenditure.
Gov Wike explained that on his assumption of office, he had approached the State House of Assembly to adjust the procurement law to make it more realistic and practicable.
He said the adjustment of the State procurement law laid the foundation and framework for his administration to conceptualise, initial, and complete projects on record time.
The governor declared that the Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School constructed by the Rivers State government in Port Harcourt within eight months, should have ordinarily been completed between four to five years if the country’s existing procurement life cycle was followed.
“The procurement life cycle here in Nigeria is very long. If you follow the procurement life cycle religiously before you give birth to a project and commence construction, it will take like three, four, or five months.
“If you follow Procurement Act 2000, which recommends for about 15 per cent mobilisation fees, and then you budget 15 percent in your yearly budget, just like the federal government budget is being done.
“If you take it to the National Assembly they will put 15 per cent of the cost of the project in the budget. When you put 15 per cent of the cost of the project in the budget, what are we saying? We are saying that this project should be completed in six years or more.
“When you look at your contract completion period, if your contract completion period of the project is one year and you budget fully for that project in that particular year, then you are sure of completing that project in that particular year.
“If your contract completion project or a given project is two years, and then you budget 50 per cent of the cost of that project in this year’s budget, 50 percent of the cost in the next year’s budget, then you have done the right thing.”
The governor advised every Bureau of Public Procurement in the country to have a functional price intelligence unit.
Gov Wike commended COREN for inaugurating the Rivers State Technical Committee (RSTC) and Rivers State Expatriate Monitoring Committee of Engineering Regulation as part of measures to eliminate quackery in the construction industry.
“I strongly support the formation of the Rivers State technical committees, and I can assure you that the two engineers we have as members there are engineers of no mean repute and engineers that know their onion. I can assure you that they are going to add value to whatever you are doing.”
The national president of COREN, the professor, Sadiq Zubairu Abubakar, said they were in Port Harcourt on a visit to study the achievements of the State government in engineering practice.
He said Gov Wike has executed projects that are too numerous to mention, particularly the construction of 12 flyovers between 2019 and 2023.
Abubakar said it is his sincere wish that Gov Wike’s sterling performance in office will change the psychic and mindset of other political leaders at various levels in Nigeria.
According to him, “We have confirmed what the President of our country, General Muhammadu Buhari, bestowed on you the best governor for infrastructural development in Nigeria. We have seen the projects.
The COREN president, who later visited the Nabo Graham Douglas Campus of the Nigerian Law School in Port Harcourt and some of the flyovers, said WIke has created a niche for himself as a person and has changed the narrative of governance in Nigeria.
The Chief of Staff, Government House, Port Harcourt, Emeka Woke, assured COREN that the representatives of the State government in the two committees will work in accordance with the Engineers Registration Act Cap of 2004 and other operational guidelines.