Building industry expert calls for enactment of Local Content Act

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Abuja  –  An expert in the building and construction industry has called for the enactment of local content law to stimulate economic growth in the sector.

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Prof. Steven Ogunlana, the Chairman of Construction Project Management, School Built Environment, Herriot Watt University, UK, made the call on Wednesday in Abuja at the ongoing 2015 Builders Congress.

He said such a measure would promote the total inculcation of local content principle in the building and construction industry in the country

Ogunlana, in a presentation entitled “The Building Industry: A Strategic Sector in Nigeria’s Economic Revival’’, said that local content was not targeted at discouraging investors, rather, it was desirable so as to build safeguards and fairness for local participation.

He said that local participation could arrest agitation and unrest in host communities and even safeguard existing investments.

He also called for the promotion of orderliness, removal of arbitrariness and enactment of a law to back the operation of the Nigerian Building Code.

Ogunlana said this would also enhance predictability in building projects development process.

He said there was the need to utilise potential of the sector to stimulate economic growth in the country through infrastructure base development.

The expert said that the building industry had potential for being the engine room for the nation’s growth due to the possibility of the emergence of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

He said that such enterprises could contribute to employment and wealth creation.

Ogunlana identified the building potential to include existence of a pool of skilled, unskilled and trainable entrepreneurial workforce.
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He said that the workforce would meet the housing demands of the people.

“There is in existence abundant natural resources that can be used in their natural or transformed state as building materials.

“Example of such resources are sand, cement, steel, etc. Building materials supplied and manufactured in Nigeria have additive value on economy.

“There is also the existence of a large stock of housing needs which is a problem on its own, but presents an opportunity with its attendant advantages.’’

Ogunlana called for functional specialisations in the built environment professions with a team spirit to produce quality building products that would be nationally and internationally competitive.

According to him, some countries have taken deliberate steps to use their building or construction industry to rejuvenate their national economies.

He, therefore, urged Nigerians and other stakeholders to also take deliberate steps to stimulate and encourage local building construction capacity for both domestic consumption and export.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the congress is “Nigerian Building Industry and the National Economy: Synergies and Opportunities’’.

It was organised by the Council for Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON). (NAN)

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