Following a series of failed government projects, cabinet is considering setting up an autonomous institution that will be responsible for a smooth implementation of major projects.
“We are also looking to establish an autonomous agency to oversee project implementation,” President Ian Khama said on Monday, without delving into the details.
Khama likened the spate of failures to ‘corruption’. He told parliament that to further root out corruption, while improving on the delivery of public infrastructure projects, government would create a new department to focus on project planning and coordination in addition to the already established Project Management Office.
Unofficial figures show that government has over the last few years lost billions of Pulas to contractors who inflate prices and then fail to complete projects within budget.
However, government has not quantified the amount of loss in terms of the country’s macroeconomic prospects, social development, service delivery and the general quality of life accruing from poor implementation.
Meanwhile government audits carried out from December 2010 to March 2013 have uncovered 62,717 minor and major defects, with an average of 532 defects per inspection on government projects.
President Khama estimated that the first year of inspections saved government well over P100 million, covering time saved, material and personnel to make good these defects.
“We continue to achieve substantial savings through this exercise. Between April and September 2013 inspections have uncovered an additional 1,721 defects in 30 projects, demonstrating the need for continued monitoring as well as a general improvement in compliance,” the President said.
The government’s poor implementation of public projects has been ongoing for the past decade with more than 50 per cent of projects not completed on time resulting in additional cost.
Among the failed projects are the Sir Seretse Khama International Airport (SSKIA), Francistown Stadium, Shakawe Senior Secondary School and the Botswana Development Corporation’s Glass project in Palapye.
The renovation of the national stadium took government more than four years. Serowe Sports Complex is currently not used because of some structural defects, a few years after its construction was completed.