Construction chiefs set agenda for Buhari

Lagos state

Lagos state

HOPEFUL of a better Nigeria, building industry and their professional practice under the new administration, construction bigwigs have drawn some outline for the Buhari-led administration, which will boost the housing sector.
They said the roadmap became necessary for the new government both at the federal and state levels to follow, if appreciable progress would be attained within their sector, which some have described as the vehicle for wealth creation for the nation.
From the Nigerian architects to builders, land and estate surveyors to structural engineers, builders to quantity surveyors, the leaders of the various professional institutional bodies have said there was need for the new government to tighten loose ends in the construction industry.
According to them, failure of the past governments to come to terms with some of the suggestions have caused the country loss of both huge capital, human labour and construction industry development through transfer of skills from the developed clime into the country. 
Although each professional body has areas of interest, some of which, already expressed to President Muhammadu Buhari, top on their list of demands is current appetite by government officials for foreign professionals, a trend said to be a great disservice to the nation and her professionals in the building industry as well as fueled unemployment in the country.
For instance, regulatory body for all Nigerian architects, known as Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) has said the present government should desist from patronizing their foreign counterparts without due recourse to the rule of engaging them in Nigeria.
To checkmate this development, which they said has emboldened foreign professionals to illegally engage in projects in Nigeria, the body said it has introduced Architect Project Registration Number (APRN).  Now, it wants the present government to back this initiative.
Speaking to The Guardian recently, ARCON president, Mr. Umaru Aliyu, said that without the newly introduced number, no architectural drawings in any part of the country could be adjudged legal.
He said: “The Council appreciates the untold hardship our members have been subjected to by the unwholesome attitude towards the practice of architecture in Nigeria over the years. It is in recognition of this that the Council introduced the use of the ARCON seal, complemented with the use of the security stamps to be affixed on every sheet of the drawings submitted for developmental control/implementation purposes. 
“The Council has however gone ahead, of late, to introduce the Architect Project Registration Number (APRN), which is a number assigned by the Council to each architectural project in any part of the country to ensure that only fully registered architects submit architectural drawings for developmental control/implementation and receive approval from relevant approving authorities. All submissions for development control/implementation must comply with the above,” adding that, it is urging the government to back the initiative. 
According to Umaru foreign architects should not be encouraged to willingly break the country’s law and the UIA recommended International Standards of Professionalism that guides their practice.   
Land suveyors known as the Nigerian Institute of Surveyors (NIS), said the government should among other things create a Survey and Mapping Commission because “we believe that such commission is capable of setting a robust agenda for development of Survey. With this done, it would be easy to solve problem of ecology, security, population and environmental degradation and infrastructure development through member’s annual subscriptions.” 
NIS President, Bern Omo Akhigbe, while urging the new administration to involve surveyors in planning matter, stated that their contribution in addressing sundry problems, especially, as related to land matters made it imperative for them to be more involved in the day-to-day’s government activities.
“Problems in city planning are production of current and fit-for-use different types of maps and requisite geospatial data, which are basic tools for planning.  Effective planning can only be achieved via the use of timely and current information. 
“It is internationally recognized and agreed that the most mapped countries are the most developed. If we are to defeat the challenges we currently face in terms of urban planning and development, we need to place more emphasis on mapping and surveying and new government must as a matter of fact, look into the issue of mapping”, said Omo-Akhigbe.
NIS chief added: “I must however note that government has not fully explored the use of surveyors in many critical areas of the development of social service and the economy. A lot still needs to see done to fully have the benefit of the surveying profession in Nigeria, especially, in security, population, censor, election and the monitory of the environment, among others.”
First Vice President, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESVs), Dr. Joshua Patunola-Ajayi said the new government must ensure that assets declaration of public office holders in the new dispensation come with valuation certificate issued by recognised estate surveyors and valuers, because this is the only lawful profession to carry out valuation or determine property value.
According to him, it is with such arrangement that assets declaration could be said to have been done fairly. 
Besides, he said housing-for-rent policy must be reviewed in a way that ordinary Nigerians would have access to good accommodation.
Also, Patunola-Ajayi said professionals must be consulted in the state projects like infrastructural development, especially, energy, power, transportation, road and rail.

“For the economy to pick, there is need for the new government to show much commitment to infrastructure development, particularly, power sector, road and rail”.
The engineers want President Buhari to embrace policy of self-reliance, which was the order some fifty years.
President, Association of Consulting Engineers of Nigeria (ACEN), Dr. Temilola Kehinde said the way to real and sustainable development was for the government to encourage local real estate professionals in exposure and skill development.
“Succinctly therefore, our position is as follows: we must go back to that era where we embraced self-reliance and resume the art of getting things done by and for ourselves. This was the practice, which worked successfully in the 60’s and 70’s, so it is nothing new. More importantly, the truth, bitter though it may be, is that, this is the only way to real and sustainable development.”
In clear term, the group says the government should evolve a policy that will uphold that all for projects valued at less than N5 billion, only Nigerian professionals should be engaged.  

For projects valued between N5billion and N15 billion, Nigerian professionals should take the lead and bring in foreign experts, only if and where necessary.  

For projects valued above N15 billion, foreign professionals, for now, can take the lead with the active participation of local consultants but there should be a training component incorporated in the contract to enhance transfer of technology

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