Why second Niger bridge is delayed

  • Saturday, August 16, 2008 - By ISAAC ANUMIHE, Abuja
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Director-General of Bureau of Public Procurement, Mr Emeka Eze at the weekend gave reasons why the construction of second Niger Bridge, which has remained on the drawing board for several years, has not taken off.

Speaking at the concluded Nigeria Infrastructure Summit 2008 in Abuja, Eze said that government is slow in releasing funds and that makes it difficult for private sectors to partner with government.

He said that before government released the initial N3.5 billion for the project, the cost of constructing the bridge had doubled.
To this effect, he advised the private sector on the need to embark on a project without necessarily waiting for government funds.

On the increasing incidence of corruption in the public service, which invariably affect the cost of projects, Eze revealed that there is even more corruption in the private sector than in the public sector.
According to him, when the bureau was set up, almost all the banks made offers to him, but he declined those offers saying that why people in the public sector do not do well is that they do not earn their money through hard work.

The bureau’s chief noted that underpayment can induce corruption.
“A corrupt system does not encourage dignity of labour. If people earn their money by hard work, people will like to be welders” he said.
Also speaking on the procurement strategy and value of money, Group Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr Tony Elumelu listed accountability, red tape and value for money as the challenges which confront government in infrastructure procurement.
For accountability, he suggested that government should produce an infrastructure master plan upfront which gives stakeholders a guide on the requirements of the economy.

Also, part of the suggestions include publishing procurements that will be done through traditional and PPP methods at the beginning of the fiscal year and advertising all procurements in relevant, open and known media as well as ensuring there is no direct negotiation with a single bidder and informing potential contractors or concessionaires that unsolicited proposals would be thrown open to other bidders.

He equally mentioned red tape and value for money as part of the challenges. But for the latter, he said that all projects must pass the risk allocation test, such that the party most equipped handles relevant risks.

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