ACCI Decrys Over $5bn Lost To Poor Commercial Dispute Handling

The President, Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Adetokunbo Ademola, has said that Nigeria has lost over $5bn to non-domestication of commercial disputes through Alternative Dispute Resolution mechanism.

He said this on Thursday in Abuja on the sidelines of the inauguration of the planning committee for the government contract disputes resolution workshop.

The workshop is part of the steps for the development of an alternative way of resolving government contracts- related disputes in Nigeria other than the traditional means.

The ACCI president said the chamber understood the importance of alternative dispute resolution to commercial contracts, adding that this was why it established a Dispute Resolution Centre where interested parties could have an additional option for the resolution of commercial disputes.

The centre, he said, was based on the need to remedy the critical challenges in expeditious resolution of commercial disputes.

Kayode said, “Nigeria has lost a lot in the fact that we failed to domesticate all our commercial arbitration. Contracts or commercial transactions between Nigeria and companies registered in Nigeria or the Nigerian government or its agencies should be domesticated here in Abuja.

“We have lost a lot in terms of manpower development, capacity, a lot of monies being lost. The money lost may be difficult but we can comfortably say over time, we have lost over $5bn in terms of externalising our arbitration.”

He said the inability to speedily resolve commercial disputes was one of the reasons for delay in project completion and poor performance of government contract.

He said, “It is now well established that one of the critical factors driving economic development, ease of doing business as well as investment in any society is the existence of effective and efficient disputes resolution mechanism.

“Studies have shown that the main causes of disputes between contractors and the government are non-payment of certified sums; financial claims; wrongful determination of contract, ambiguous contract documents, inadequate provisions in the contract conditions and misinterpretation of contract documents.

“It is already a challenge to resolve these disputes as parties resort to litigation as the preferred resolution method, thereby causing delays in project delivery and also making projects expensive in the long run.

Also, these disputes have been seen to have caused poor performance in government projects and often leads to prolonged delays in implementation, interruptions and sometimes even suspension of work.”