Cost of infrastructure projects in Nigeria highest in the world – Senate President

Senate President, Ahmad Lawan says the cost of executing projects in Nigeria is usually higher than any other country in the world.

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Lawan, who spoke when he hosted Boss Mustapha, secretary to the government of the federation (SGF) in Abuja, faulted the public procurement act which according to him, breeds corruption and slows the speed of project implementation in the country.

It was reported that a 340km standard gauge railway line in Ghana will be constructed at $2.2 billion while the 156km railway line between Lagos and Ibadan in south-west Nigeria will cost the country $2 billion.

While it will cost Ghana $6.5 million per kilometre, Nigeria will spend $13.6 million per kilometer.

The number three citizen said the senate would carry out a “holistic review” of the act to address the loopholes therein, saying it is not the best in the world as it is presently.

“The public procurement in Nigeria as far as I can see is not the best in the world. The public procurement must be reviewed and amended. We must see how we can make it more practical and holistic within the shortest possible time,” Lawan said.

“From the stage of bidding to mobilization, the costing of any government contracts must be uniform in order to avoid imbalances and embarrassment in the processes.

“A situation where about twenty agencies of government buy the same brand of vehicles at grossly different prices is not good.

“Market prices must be determined and adhered strictly to ensure that Nigerians are not shortchanged through abuse of processes or over-invoicing.

“Even the 15% mobilisation fee specifies in the Act by realities on ground is more of demobilising contractors than mobilising them with attendant loopholes for fraudulent practices.”

Lawan said pending when the act will be reviewed, the senate will constitute a procurement committee made up of experts.

He added that a situation where different ministries buy the same property at varying prices must stop.

“Our Public Procurement committee will be a very strong committee this time around. The cost of projects in Nigeria is mostly the highest in the world. We cannot continue like this, not in the face of very scarce resources,” he said.

“So, we are going to insist that the public procurement particularly is considered better than before. If there should be purchase of buses by ten or twenty ministries, the cost must be uniform so that we don’t drag into crisis on what we buy.

“The Procurement Committee when in place will make sure we work towards achieving this set agenda in order to avoid putting the public at a disadvantaged position.”

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