By Rukayat Moisemhe
The Project Management Institute (PMI), Nigeria Chapter, and some experts have called for a national policy to address challenges with project management and project failure in the country.
They made the call on Monday in Lagos at the PMI Expo 2022 and Conference with the theme: “Resolving Project Failure Issues in Public and Private Sectors.”
Mr Paul Omugbe, president, PMI Nigeria Chapter, said the advice was pertinent since in many parts of the world and Nigeria, post-COVID-19 pandemic recovery measures featured investment in infrastructure projects.
According to him, investment in public infrastructure can help lift growth domestically and abroad through trade linkages.
He recalled that in Nigeria, the Federal Government had established the Infrastructure Corporation of Nigeria (InfraCorp) with a seed capital of N1 trillion.
He, however, noted that Nigeria’s project landscape suggested that project delivery remained a concern.
“According to the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), there exists a large quantum of uncompleted projects in Nigeria estimated at N12 trillion.
“Moreover, the report also points to some 56,000 abandoned projects in all sectors across the country.
“The International Monetary Fund (IMF) also found that countries waste about one-third of their infrastructure spending due to inefficiencies.
“Governments need robust frameworks to plan, allocate, and implement quality public infrastructure,” he said.
Similarly, Mr Emeka Unachukwu, Sales and Marketing Associate, PMI, said the success of large-scale capital projects depended on the ability a project manager to bring together diverse and multi-locational teams.
He noted that this was more pronounced in the public sector as project managers must also deal with multiple stakeholders whose opinions could strongly influence the outcome.
“This creates an increasing need for developing competencies (knowledge and, most importantly, power skills).
“There is a need for governments and organisations to focus on appropriately planning and executing projects that can create business value, deliver benefits, and drive return on investment.
“The expo is a collaborative space to build bridges between private and public sectors, share learning and find solutions to problems associated with project failure,” he said.
Also, Dr Edmund Otaigbe, Group Head, Risk Management and Project Monitoring, Access Bank Plc, listed some causes of project failure to include inadequate budget, planning, conceptualisation and knowledge.
Others, he said, were corruption, poor communication, poor contractor practices, frequent design scope changes, and socio-cultural and political interference.
He noted that the consequences of poor project management included slow economic growth, loss of funding, socio-centric underdevelopment, unemployment, amongst others.
“A national policy to address the problem of project failures in the country is required and there must be continuity in projects, especially in the public sector.
“Repatriation of un-exhausted project funds should be based on project status while the creation of new projects should consider the aggregate number of existing projects, their status and budgetary provisions.
“Public sector should promote self-liquidating and self-sustaining capital projects through concessions rather than relying on annual budgetary allocations,” he said.
Otaigbe stressed that project management knowledge must be a necessary requirement for key roles in both private and public sectors.
Mr Anthony Okungbowa, Head of Service, Edo, said the country had invested billions of dollars in different projects to develop the economy and infrastructure to improve the living conditions of Nigerians.
Okungbowa, represented by Mrs Precious Ajoonu, Managing Director, John Odigie Oyegun Public Service Academy, however, noted that very little had been achieved in spite of all efforts made by different administrations.
According to him, Nigeria has been enjoying a smooth democratic ride since 1999, but projects at the three tiers of government are still falling short in the area of accountability on project delivery.
This, he said, necessitated better strategies and the adoption of best practices to improve project delivery to solve the nation’s needs and add more value to its economy and society.
“The Nigerian government needs a national policy and, if necessary, a legislative approach to address the country’s project failure problem.
“The impacts of project failure on citizens and the national economy are damaging and require mitigation.
“Project outcomes can also be improved by employing better strategies, transparency, planning, problem-solving, communication, collaboration, and consideration of overall staff skills before they are hired.
“Finally, project objectives and key results are critical for project managers to succeed.
“These objectives should be communicated promptly and regularly at all project levels to facilitate success and interlinked with project goals, vision, and values,” he said. NAN