The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Bababtunde Fashola, has advised construction experts to adopt international laws that suit Nigeria’s needs to reduce conflicts in project execution for economic growth.
Fashola gave the advice at a regional workshop organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce International Arbitration Centre.
The programme was put together in collaboration with the Association of Consulting Engineering in Nigeria and some law and construction firms.
It had the theme, “Dispute Management in Africa infrastructure projects’.
Fashola noted that costs and risk management were important factors that must be taken into account when undertaking projects.
He said that most Federal Government projects adhered to the International Federation of Consulting Engineers principles.
The minister noted the need to ensure that the FIDIC researches were adapted to local construction needs and policies.
Citing various countries as examples, the minister explained that Nigeria had a land tenure system with ancestral lands or shrines where people were prohibited from building on.
He said the Mambila Power project suffered some setbacks because of several conflicts that led to litigations.
He said, “If we apply international processes, there must be some room to reflect on international diversity and way we do things without necessarily being sub-optimal. Our land tenure processes, for example, are not exactly the same as that of Europe.
The minister said that lawyers sometimes made some project agreement ambiguous and so difficult to understand, adding that adaptation of laws to suit local requirements was important.
He said that the Mambila Power Project would provide huge employment and investment opportunities for the quarries, haulage companies, banks and other stakeholders in the construction value chain.
According to him, 18 million tonnes of stones and 42,000 tonnes of steel were some of the materials needed for the Mambila Power project which was a huge opportunity for job creation and local businesses.
“If you own a quarry now, you are sitting on a gold mine, especially if it is near Taraba State. That is the tomorrow I see; that is work; that is prosperity and the driver is infrastructure,” he said.
He said Mambila project would be guided by FIDIC rules, adding that guidelines for procurement process of the project had begun.
Fashola reeled out statistics of cement, stones and other inputs needed for the construction of the second Niger Bridge that would boost revenue in the construction value chain.