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Submitted by Nwabu on
Infrastructure has everything to do with progress but there is a problem Washington DC, when you are not on the same page with the big man. Infrastructure is not about economic growth and externalities and what not to him. His thoughts are a little more crude. Why all the IPP, PPP and what not when its all so straightforward. If you have a budget for some road, you take some of the money off the top for yourself and your cronies. Simple! Its that reasoning is why money-losing big budget state telcos were held as firmly as big men know how to while mobile telephony was looked on as a playtoy with people actually willing to pay ridiculous amounts for licenses!! The big man never saw mobile telephony coming but he did everything to either rig the sale of NITEL (to himself), or frustrate the sale of Ghana Telecom, or partly privatize Telkom South Africa while maintaining control. Nigeria provides another classic case in point. 3/4 of the roads are falling apart yet every year the ministry of works gets a huge budget to fix them. Contractors start the job and then quit after one month when no money is forthcoming from the government. This is a government that is earning close to $30-40 billion every year. Where is the money going if its not going to a contractor? Sure the Chinese can build 10,000 miles of road a year but why would Nigeria want them around when the idea is to park govt money in the bank and then siphon off of the interest and give contractors all sorts of stories. Think about $100 million at 6% interest. Electricity is another case in point. Over 15 billion has been expended on PHCN (please have candles nearby) in Nigeria yet they generate power with the prowess of a 4 year old riding a bicycle. But every time privatization is mentioned, the workers will demonstrate and go on a rampage and destroy things and the big men behind the scenes who sent them out there will quietly negotiate with their colleages in government and kill the idea. I note people are celebrating the story somewhere in this blog that says PHCN will be privatized. Lets celebrate when it happens not before. As for Kenya, the govt folks there really dont have much room to manoevre in their crookery. Kenya does not have oil and is heavily dependent on the private sector for tax revenue (and to the good graces of the donor community) so they do a little better with roads.