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Government project failure in developing countries: A review with particular reference to Nigeria

King Matthew Eja
Manu Ramegowda


Governments and organizations, especially governments in developing countries, have witnessed project failures in their project implementation, although there might be some differences in the causes, effects and consequences of such failures among governments. This study aimed at  investigating the causes, effects and consequences of project failures in developing countries with particular reference to Nigeria, through literature review. Information on project failures in Africa, Asia and little in Europe were sourced through journals, books and newspapers. It was apparent that project failure is very frequent in developing countries and in particular, Nigeria, with several causes, effects and consequences. Some of the causes established were poor financial capacity; inaccurate costing and corruption; incompetence and lack of knowledge; poor planning and estimation; poor communication; poor contracting and contractor practices; frequent design scope changes and errors; socio-cultural and political  interference; poor leadership and corruption. The effects of project failure were found to be loss of revenue to the state; project cost overruns; loss of revenue by citizens; substandard infrastructure and low empowerment to community. The resultant consequences were slow economic growth; sector-centric underdevelopment; loss of foreign aid/grants; tougher donor regulations; loss of elections to incumbent leadership and lack of confidence in state from financial institutions. It is recommended that Nigerian government should overhaul its policy architecture to mitigating the causes of project failure, and in particular, stemming down corruption.

Keywords: Government projects, project failure, poor implementation, corrupt practices, inadequate planning