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A Long-term Project Management Analysis of the recent $1.1 Billion Chinese Loan to Nigeria

FEATURED PAPER

By O. Chima Okereke, PhD

Nigeria
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Breaking News: Nigeria on Wednesday, September 12th, 2012 secured a $1.1billion China Export Import (Exim) Bank facility to finance three priority projects that are reportedly key to the economic transformation efforts of the President Goodluck Jonathan administration [1].

Introduction

The Minister of Finance and Co-ordinating Minister of Economy, Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, stated during the signing ceremony for the loan that: “President Goodluck Jonathan has tried to fulfil the promises to make things easier for the ordinary people of Nigeria, and this is one of them.” She continued: “It is a happy ending, as we have been able to get financing for three key projects. The first is the $500 million facility to complete the Abuja light rail, to ease transportation within the FCT (Abuja Federal Capital Territory) and get people to work early, and another $100 million for an Information Technology project, (that is) the National Security Development System, by Galaxy Backbone.  The IT project is to assist our youths to get connected to modern technology [1] ….”

From a project management standpoint, we congratulate the president, the minister and members of the Federal Executive Council who approved the loan, according to Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, on the new projects.

Our interest is that the projects will succeed and provide the services for which they have been created. As a result, we wish to ask a number of burning questions, important and inevitable as they are, since answers to them should help determine the success or failure of the projects. Our questions could be encapsulated in one question: Will these systems, especially the Abuja Light Rail, be in operation twenty years from now and beyond?

In this article, we shall carry out a brief analysis of the projects and expound our question with other questions which probe the adequacy or otherwise of the arrangement made for the projects. We would also make suggestions that should help ensure the sustainability of the projects when the implementation phase is completed.

We start with a review of the information on the projects available to us in the public domain, analyse it by asking relevant questions. We shall conclude with our suggestions for the long-term success of the projects.

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About the Author

O. CHIMA OKEREKE, PhD

Port Harcourt, Nigeria

Hereford, UK

Dr. O. Chima Okereke, Ph.D., MBA, PMP is the Chairman and Managing Director of Total Technology Consultants, Ltd., based in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and in the UK.  He was previously a chief engineer for Delta Steel Company in Aladja; a project engineer/technical trainer  for Shell Petroleum Development Company in Warri; and Principal Engineer and Section Head for Instrumentation & Control in the National Electric Power Authority  Thermal Power Station, Sapele.  Chima sponsored and founded the potential chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI®) in Port Harcourt, acting as president from 2003 to 2010.  Dr. Okereke has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Lagos, and a Ph.D. Degree following his research in robotic vision, and Masters in Business Administration (MBA) degree; both from the University of Bradford in the UK.  He also has a PMP certification.  With over 25 years of experience in industrial operations and project management, he has been a registered engineer with COREN in Nigeria since 1983.  Total Technology is a partner for Oracle Primavera Global Business Unit, a representative in Nigeria of Oracle University for training in Primavera project management courses, a Gold Level member of Oracle Partner Network (OPN) . In the UK, he is a member of the Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce., and of the Institute of Directors.  More information can be found at http://www.totaltechnologyconsultants.org/.  Chima can be contacted at [email protected], and [email protected].