Professionals in the construction sector, last week took a stock of the performance in real estate sector during the recession and how the sector would fare in the post-recession period.
Professionals that gaced the event were representative of professional bodies that included the Nigerian Institute of Architects, the Nigeria Society of Engineers, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Building Collapse Prevention Guide, among others.
The event was at the 2017 edition of the Property and Environment Writers of Nigeria (PEWAN), held at the LCCI conference Centre, Agidingbi, Alausa, Lagos
In his goodwill address, His Royal Majesty, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Ojaja 11, the Ooni of Ife, stated that the country will definitely get it right as long as the citizens join hands with government in its policies.
The Ooni, who was represented at the event by His Royal Highness, Oba Adebanjo Adedinni, Asoya of Isoya, Ile Ife and his counterpart, Oba Adetokunbo Anosunge, Elejesi of Ife Kingdom, assured the organisers of the event of his commitment to the course of construction industry, especially, infrastructure provision and housing delivery.
“I’m happy with what you people are doing. Without you the Property and Environment Writers, most of the success we recorded in Nigeria and the ills that have bedevilled our society will not be known,” he said.
Speaking on the theme of the event: “Economic Recovery; The Role of Construction Sector in Post Recession Nigeria”, the Chairman of the occasion, who is the Founding Partner/Consultant, M.I.Okoro and Associates, Chief (Dr.) Meckson Okoro, was of the view that foreign construction firms who are usually the beneficiaries of most contracts awarded in Nigeria, usually repatriated all the funds back to their countries, adding that the capital flight was injurious to the nation’s economy.
Okoro, while commending PEWAN for setting agenda on issues of economic growth and development, tasked the Federal Government to show more commitment to the construction sector.
Okoro, while extolling the noble contributions of the association to the development of construction industry, said he was disappointed that the Guest Speaker at the event, Hon Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, was neither present nor sent his representative.
“I think it’s not good enough that the supposed Guest Speaker, in the person of Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, nor the host, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode were neither here, nor represented, known fully well that the organiser of this event are the message carrier of their activities. I think it’s quite unfair that they were not part of this event”, he lamented.
In his address, the President, Building Collapse Prevention Guide (BCPG), also, First Vice President of the Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kunle Awobodu, identified lack of government commitment as factor militating against growth of the building construction industry in Nigeria.
He said that Nigeria government gave more support to foreign construction operators than their indigenous counterparts, adding that infrastructure was a major determinant of development.
Awobodun warned that if government policies were not tilted to favour construction which was a determinant of development, the nation was going to slip back into recession.
“Many nation’s development are tied to the construction sector, this sector is the determinant of development in any nation. Government should take investments into construction industry serious, recession can re-occur due to our human errors,” he said.
According to him,until the citizens and government learn to make use of the local construction operators, the sector may not record significant growth.was less optimistic that the recession will not come back, if Nigerian leaders fail to do the right thing.
“If the construction works are being giving to the multinationals., either from China, Germany and other countries at the expense of Nigerians who, not only producing less quality works, but sometimes, helping the corrupt government officials to siphon Nigerian money abroad.
“Besides, many that faced disappointment at the capital market, hurriedly came into construction industry and before you know what is going on, have destroy the sector”, he lamented.
The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr Otis Anyaeji
represented by the Ikeja Branch Chairman of the society, Mr Akintayo Akintola lamented that most projects in the nation have become ‘processes’because of lack of adherence to completion dates.
Anyaeji said that conditions for award of contacts were usually deliberately made difficult to eliminate local engineers which makes a nonsense of the Local Content Law to have the participation of indigenous engineers.
He advised students of Technical College, Agindingbi who were in attendance to distinguish themselves in the various crafts they were learning to fill the middle cadre manpower gap being taken over by artisans from neighbouring African countries.
Mr Jide Oke, Executive Secretary, Nigeria Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), said that the attitude of the political class was the cause of economic recession and other challenges faced by the country.
According to Oke who represented Mrs Mercy Iyota, NIQS President, infrastructure is very critical to construction and as we come out of recession we must deal with the issue of power.
He said that the infrastructure deficit in the nation was huge, adding that the private sector must drive the sector to speed up development.
“Construction is very important, it is the barometer to measure the growth of any nation,” he said.