By Friday Echi
Revelations have emerged that part of the reasons Imo State is in a deep financial strait is the huge chunk of money that has been buried in uncompleted and abandoned projects that litter different parts of the state.
Some of these projects Edge Express investigation revealed cut across the life span of virtually all the previous administrations but are more pronounced in the era of erstwhile Gov Rochas Okorocha.
The uncompleted and abandoned projects revolve around schools, hospitals, roads, hotels, markets, offices in local governments, etc. These projects which were left at different stages of completion suffered either because of poor funding, political differences between originating governments and the inheriting government, or poor jobs done.
Our findings show that most of the abandoned projects have become dens of robbers. Since it is not inhabited it is converted to wrong use by men of the underworld as well as miscreants who use it to rape, smoke weeds and plot all manner of heinous crime. It is a safe haven for them because people’s attention hardly gets to those places.
Abandoning projects have led to colossal loss on the side of government. Most projects abandoned provides a financial mine for hoodlums who go to cannibalize what is left of those projects because they are not secured. This is the case at Somto Hospital Complex located at Douglas road.
Valuables in the form of window panes, doors, electrical fittings, iron works have been lost in some projects abandoned by the government. Returning to those projects sometimes amounts to starting a fresh job.
In the words of Arch Ezenwa, ‘it should never be in the wisdom of any person or government to abandon a project for too long and returning to it. Aside from revision of the cost estimate depending on the level attained, you might return to the project to discover that changes in the system or other intervening variables may have affected the utility value of such constructions and you may be left with starting afresh or modifying what is on ground, whichever way it can never be the same again’’
The financial implications are huge losses and wastes of the state’s scarce resources. Over 300 billion naira may have been sunk on the ground when you take into account the huge lay out on such projects like the Prince and Princess hotels at Owerri and Okigwe, the Parking Lot at Ama JK, the abandoned Police and Prison headquarters, the 27 general hospitals etc.
For instance since 2011 when the Okorocha government started the 27 general hospitals and running for 8 years the N30bn claimed to have been committed to the project for sure amounts to huge waste given the time value of money and the benefit inherent in applying it to high income yielding investments.
Hospital no doubt is a good social investment nobody would like to shut down but spending such amount of money same time without completion does not show the state wise in some of its investment decision. At best the projects would have been spaced out or phased if it must be done.
The recklessness with which these projects with huge potentials for income and employment opportunities were handled leaves a lot of pains in the hearts of Imolites. The completion of these projects would provide employment opportunities to the citizens. Taking people off the streets would reduce crime. The tax payments on the income of the employees provide another income opportunity for the government. There are numerous other ways the use of these projects can add value to the society.
The government of Senator Hope Uzodinma should borrow a leaf from President Muhammadu Buhari who had since focused on completing the projects left behind by President Goodluck Jonathan. He has been vilified for not erecting even a block anywhere but many forgot that the Railway Projects and the Agricultural projects he inherited he has continued to see their fruition.
It is not about having so much in the plate to gratify party loyalists but in how well what is on ground have been taken care of. Whatever it has no capacity to complete within a record time with the available resources it should avoid. Project construction should on no account be tied to speculative sources of financing.
By Friday Echi