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LESSONS:

Transport Infrastructure Development Project

sector: Transport | country: Papua New Guinea | region: Pacific Islands

Flexibility of scope changes or loan extensions during implementation can behelpful, but in the face of persistent failure to meet targets, firm action should beconsidered. Unless the causes of failure can be resolved promptly, the projectshould be reviewed thoroughly and, if warranted, fundamentally redesigned.

It is best to limit the size and scope of a project to manageable proportions, taking into account the capacity and resources of the recipient government and executing agencies. To find the right match between needs and capabilities, it is also advisable to allow more time in designing future projects. It is better to err on the side of too much project preparation than too little. Project design ‘on the job’ may suffice if the engineer is knowledgeable and experienced, but the money saved can be lost many times over if, for example, the work done is washed away in the first flood.

Systematic monitoring of the execution of routine maintenance is essential.There is a need for independent inspectors to perform technical audits ofmaintenance, and there should be a financial audit to make sure that physicaloutputs are commensurate with the inputs.

There are no shortcuts in project monitoring. Active project administration and close monitoring should be stressed. Field visits to inspect the physical progress are essential, not optional.

When there are problems in maintaining existing infrastructure, lending money for projects that add to the maintenance load without first addressing existing problems must be thoroughly reviewed and debated. Loans to cover recurrent costs are not a good practice. Serious consideration should therefore be given to lending money for routine maintenance, or indeedfor all maintenance, including rehabilitation.

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