I must be clear about the direction of this text. It is about the real reasons behind the many contracts that are awarded daily by government and its parastatals at diverse levels and in the many states of this great country Nigeria, it is about cash changing hands.. In fact, Cash Must Change Hands
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Self Enrichment Projects called Contracts
A visit to any ministry office during working hours of any working days will readily confirm your suspicion that there is more to lobbying for contracts than the intent of executing them or getting the required job done. The contract seeking contractors comes in different shapes and sizes, all with a registered company name, some own offices that holds no furnishes, some own virtual offices while with no temporary or permanent staff while many operate from the trunk of their cars. Letterheads, stamps and ready bid to tender for any contract in any ministry or department or office as long as it is a contract. They are less concerned about the content of the tender request or the purported purpose of the contract advertorial, or their own ability or obvious inability to meet the requirement or carry out the project if given the contract, but in their mediocrity, the submit proposals for all feasible in all departments without the required expertise or facilities needed to carry out the project. The prospect of getting the contracts is not qualifications, but their CONTACTS.
The men in the federal ministries, the supposed custodians that are in charge of this contractual processes are the real enemies of the projects they are either elected, selected or appointed to execute, while the ones appointing, selecting or electing umpires to be in charge are also not interested in the success of such projects, but more in the failure, the kickbacks and prospect of re-awarding the contracts soon again to the same contractors that just failed in executing the project, or a new one that is ready to part with more percentage on kickbacks and stage a we-are-executing-the-contract scene for the teeming populace that needs the proposed project or facility, when obviously they are determined to fail at executing the contracts a-whole. I wonder what the rationale behind this actions are.. why the intentional waste of tax payers money/national resources. Obviously the reasons are completely irrational and conceptually unthinkable but still, these men are so dedicated to making sure that things don't work that they team up so effectively. Then you begin to wonder if their hearts still beat or perhaps, their cranial sections still holds any quantity of gray matter. Still you see people people run after this set of insane entities every time they swing in with their death, destruction and eminent doom in Agbada's and Babariga.
We seem to have forgetten or choose to forget as Prof. Wole Soyinka opined in “Continuity and Amnesia” and we sing their praises every time this contracts are recycled. Once a new man is placed in chard, existing procedures are thrashed, old working systems that had cost so much so recently are abandoned or condemned, and new ones that holds no prospect of surviving are introduced, contract talks and bam! contracts are rolled out and none of it gets to work before power change hands again, and you know what the new man gets to do... he re-awards the contract to that same failure or a new one. Julius Berger, Setraco, Eworks, Siemens, Halliburton to mention the big a few of the big and visible ones while there are so many others faceless companies that handle Mega contracts from the trunk of their cars, bars and clubs. They just have a name that even the man awarding the contracts can not remember. Let us ask Obasanjo if he will be able to remember name of that french company that got the National Identification project contract for billions of Naira ahead of the qualified bidders or a few of the ones awarded the MegaWattz power projects? The funny thing is that those contracts were re-awarded under the 7-point agenda of late Yar Adua and now stopped and currently under review to be re-awarded by the Goodluck administration to this same set of companies and awardees.
Let us ask Prof. Atairu Jega “Who are the vendors you will be purchasing voters registration equipments from?” The answer is obvious, the same vendors Prof. Morris Iwu purchased from 8yrs ago, just that the prices had gone a tad higher since then. A complete registration kit, something similar to the ones this mobile phone companies are using for registration with full registration application deployed will cost less than $800USD to assemble and deliver to my doorstep in Ipaja from either HP, Dell, Acer etc etc but since it is INEC that is purchasing and it is for national use, it will cost Jega $2000USD and we are looking at buying 120,000 units (One hundred and twenty thousand units). Without digressing because the price or amount is not the issue we are dealing with now, it is the contract in it self. The new contract will be awarded as usual, but still the registration will not be successful and will be re-awarded afresh 8years from now. The equipments that will be purchased now will be obsolete by then and will definitely disappear unaccounted for by anyone. Not too worry, I will be around to submit a genuine tender for the next one, it is a small IT company now, it will be big by 2018.
The obvious purpose of awarding a contract with the mind set of re-awarding it soon again is neither getting the job done nor getting the problem solved and making the system work. The issue is the continuous recycling and consistent price/value inflation that goes with every single one of this projects or should I say contracts with the hope of getting great value not on the project but on kickbacks. Essentially, projects in Nigeria are created and contracts awarded with the purpose of enriching the awarder and probably the awardee but more importantly the man awarding the contract (the awardee) be he a commissioner, minister, the president, a governor, local government chairman, councilors, medical directors, VC, rector principal, Pope, Imam or INEC chairman etc etc. in no particular order. The essential part of the contractual process is that it goes through the senate where the contract is reviewed for approval and then upgraded so you wont have to come back and ask for more like Oliver. Lets say the budgeted amount is N74 Billion Naira, they review it, upgrade it and give you N87.7 Billion Naira to make the sharing pattern easier. 10% increase on the basic with the new improved contract carrying their private account information that cannot be officially decoded.
You can just imagine the kind of unprecedented excesses that will require as much as N14 Billion Naira on a N74 Billion Naira budget. That is what contracts are made for here in Nigeria.. not getting the job done, it is about greasing our elbows and fattening our personal purses. Projects identification, creation and subsequent contracting basically for Sharing-The-Money, it is not about making your life easier so stop getting excited when you see the bulldozer pulling down or tearing at stuffs in the name of building a facility or executing a project for all, just remember that someone somewhere is sharing-the-money and soon the bulldozer will be abandoned as soon as the money is totally shared, leaving gullies and gutters for you to dwell and swell in while the road remain impassable and the bulldozer a deadly ready roadside death trap. Don't run into it ooh! the hospital emergency ward is still under construction