by Chinedu Brown
The Lagos light rail project is more than three times behind schedule. The state government has promised four times to complete the project and four times, it has failed.
The project was initially meant to be completed in 2011, but it was not. Subsequently the Lagos state government has made promises to deliver the project three times, but it failed. Paucity of funds and lack of support from the federal government were cited as reasons for the delay.
A source working on the project disclosed to YMonitor that Lagos state government is probing documents of expenditure on the project so far. He said the project was supposed to be completed within three years. The source stated that “The LASG is probing documents of expenditure by CCECC and LAMATA on the projects, thus far. The project was supposed to be completed within three years. This is year nine. The audit is still on but LASG has not released money to LMRT despite budgeting for it in the 2017 budget”
The source who works directly on the project and does not want his name mentioned because of the sensitivity of the case said LASG is keen on the expenditure of previous monies on the project. He disclosed that “CCECC are unable to construct all the piles within the time frame. This resulted in subcontracting some of the on-ground pilling works to Foundation Tech. It took them a while to get them in due to finance. LASG is keen on their expenditures of previous money. This resulted in changes of personnel at LAMATA, s some were found to be short of requirements. This probe also led to the removal of the project’s consultant, Nexant Consulting. They were found not to be competent enough for the project and were perhaps on it due to the former governor. LAMATA is now acting as the prime consultant on behalf of LASG. These changes coupled with LASG decision to withhold finance until issues were resolved led to the slow pace of work. Workers at the National Theatre Station (Precast yard) are being sacked, due to halt in production of prestressed beams; Payments were already made for the sea crossing phase piling” The source concluded.
The project is not one of those projects that the state can abandon, LASG is condemned to complete the project irrespective of how long it will take. It might be difficult to state categorically the amount the state has expended on the project so far.