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CHRICED Faults Constituency Projects Implementation in Kano

CHRICED Faults Constituency Projects Implementation in Kano

The qualities of many of the constituency projects implemented in Kano State are poor and substandard when compared with the quantum of funds expended by the government.

Resource Centre for Human Rights & Civic Education (CHRICED) revealed this on Wednesday during a press conference addressed by Mr. Armsfree Ajanaku, programs and communications manager of the Centre.

CHRICED said it is one of the civil society organizations that joined the Independent and Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) in the Phase III constituency project tracking which took place in September and led to a number of contractors being ordered to return to site due to shoddy project execution.

Ajanaku said as a result of this synergy with the ICPC, for two weeks, “CHRICED was in communities across the 44 local government areas of the state to physically track and ascertain the state of constituency projects implemented under 2019 and 2020 federal budget cycles. In the process, CHRICED tracked a total of 126 constituency projects located in Kano South and parts of Kano Central, Senatorial districts.

According to him, their “findings and experiences gathered during the two-week tracking are heart-rending and totally unacceptable.”

His statement, which he delivered on behalf of CHRICED executive director, Dr. Ibrahim M. Zikirullahi, partly read:

“We noticed several disturbing trends, which make it apparent that many of those implementing the projects, do not have the interest of the people at heart. We observed with dismay that projects implemented during the period under review (2019 -2020 budget cycle) had very limited impact on the target communities, either due to their insufficient quantity, poor quality or the failure to carry along target beneficiaries in the planning and execution of the projects. For instance, in the course of an interaction with one contractor that handled a solar-powered street light projects, it was discovered that his company was awarded the contract to procure and install 32 units of solar-powered streetlights. Each of those 32 units of streetlights were installed in different villages. The question then is; what impact can a single streetlight have on an entire village?

“In terms of project cost effectiveness and value for money, CHRICED observed that a good number of the projects tracked were not cost effective and offered very low value for the huge sums of money expended on them. A critical analysis of the bills of quantity for some of the projects tracked revealed that contracts sums were often over bloated. After collecting these huge sums for the awarded contracts, the contractors still deliver less than what was specified in the contract agreements. For instance, a check with a site engineers who handled one of the contracts for the solar-powered streetlight projects revealed that it cost an average of about N 150,000.00 (One Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) to procure and install a unit of solar-powered streetlight. However, an analysis of some of the contract award documents made available by officials of the ICPC to CSOs revealed that a unit of the solar panel was awarded to contractors at a unit cost ranging from N618, 000.00 (Six Hundred and Eighteen Thousand Naira) to N700, 000.00 (Seven Hundred Thousand Naira), meaning that the solar-powered streetlights were awarded to contractors at a unit price that is about four times the actual market value of the product.

“A further analysis of documents made available by officials of the ICPC also showed that the contracts for the blocks of classrooms (which constitute majority of the projects tracked) were awarded at an average cost of about N14,000,000.00 (Fourteen Million Naira). However, CHRICED independent analysis, which was also corroborated by the Quantity Surveyor in the team revealed that the value (in terms of quality and quantity of materials used) offered by the contactors in most cases was far below the amount said to have been expended, and in some cases, the projects were not fully implemented as some of the contractors only constructed the classroom buildings but the furnitures were not supplied as stipulated in the contract terms.

“Findings in the course of the tracking exercise also indicated that the quality of many of the projects implemented were poor and substandard, when compared with the quantum of funds expended by the government. CHRICED analysis of the bill of quantities for some of the projects tracked revealed that the contactors used inferior materials for construction and project execution, while some of those handling supplies and procurement contracts supplied inferior, cheap and substandard brands and models of the items said to have been supplied, despite quoting high and sometimes outrageous prices in their bidding documents. For instance, many of the blocks of classrooms said to be constructed in the year 2020 are already looking dilapidated as at September 2021 when the tracking exercise took place. The plastering, roofing and painting of many of the classroom blocks were done shoddily, and in some cases, electrical wiring and fittings were not even done at all, while they were all quoted in the bills of quantity accompanying the contract award.

“Some of such poorly executed projects include: a block of classrooms at YarYasa Town Primary School in Tudun Wada Local Government Area of Kano state, constructed by Global Merchant Limited, under the supervision of the Universal Basic Education Commission in 2020. There is also the block of three classrooms at Government Girls Arabic Secondary School Toranke, handled by Jessifas Synergy Limed and supervised by Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute (NBRRI); a block of two classrooms at Tassa Primary School in Dawakin Kudu Local Government, constructed by Puranova Nigeria Limited under the supervision of the Universal Basic Education Commission, among others documents.

“It was also observed that some projects were abandoned at various stages of execution either due to failure on the part of the contractor to complete the job after full payment of agreed contract sum or due to lack of release of funds by the government. Example of such projects include: the construction and furnishing of a block of four classrooms at Nomadic Primary School, Wurobagga, Hotoro in Nsaarawa Local Government Area of Kano State, awarded to Zyrax Construction Limited through the Institute for Peace and Conflict Resolution; a project for the construction of a Computer Centre at Minjibir Model School awarded to Tahlil Global Links Limited through the National Teachers Institute, Kaduna since November 2019. There was also a solar-powered borehole project at Falgore, in Doguwa Local Government Area awarded to SAT Engineering Service through the Hadejia Jamaare River Basin Authority, which packed-up barely six months after the project was handed over to the benefiting community.

“People from the benefitting community reported that the project was handed over to them in February 2021 and by August 2021, the taps had stopped running. As at September 10, 2021 when the tracking team visited the site of the project, some of the pumping machine components of the project have been removed and kept in a store by members of the community.

“Furthermore, CHRICED observed with dismay that most of the projects tied to training and empowerment of constituents by the legislators where poorly implemented, shrouded in secrecy as they lacked basic oversight. CHRICED observed through scrutiny of the supposed beneficiaries of these empowerment programs that the motives of the legislators sponsoring these empowerment projects were more political than developmental. There were no attempts to think in terms of distributive justice and gender and social inclusion in the course implementing the projects. There was the trend of using projects to compensate political supporters, families, friends, party loyalists and partisan associates rather than for human capacity development and citizens’ empowerment. CHRICED found in the course of the exercise that it was difficult, if not impossible to track the funds allocated for these so-called empowerment programs, as empowerment materials said to have been supplied and distributed could not be traced. There was a case in Tarauni Local Government Area where it was discovered that training may not have been conducted as claimed by the consultant, but participants were hurriedly mobilized and issued certificates of participation on the day the tracking team visited the project site.

“These disturbing realities from the projects tracked, make it imperative for citizens to consistently beam the search light on constituency projects, from the planning to the phase of execution. Citizens, the media, CSOs, community based organizations and importantly, the teeth actors need to stay the course and ensure that some measure of sanity is restored to the constituency project implementation process, not only in Kano State, but all over Nigeria. It is however important to point out that it was not all a case of shoddy project implementation. There were some projects, which were satisfactorily executed. An example is the cottage hospital constructed in Doguwa Town. Another example is the construction of blocks of classrooms in a primary school in Fuskar Ma’aji in Tudun Wada LGA.

“In the coming weeks, CHRICED will also bring to the fore these projects to serve as examples of best practices in constituency projects implementation.”

 

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