Abuja – The Federal Government on Monday urged stakeholders in the building and construction industry to collaborate in tackling challenges facing the sector.
Mr George Ossi, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Land, Housing and Urban Development, made the call in Abuja at the 2015 Builders Congress, organised by the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON).
Ossi identified challenges facing the sector to include dearth of technical expertise, difficult business environment, dearth of key building materials and constrained access to credit, among others.
“Reports of collapsed buildings and little or no patronage of indigenous building contractors by government and private organisations, especially for major building and infrastructural development do not portray a good image for the industry.
“The poor quality of work done by the few patronised indigenous construction firms and the pride exhibited by most individuals and organisations that their projects were executed by expatriates have also made matters worse.’’
Ossi noted that most of the contracts awarded to indigenous firms were done as a means of guaranteeing political patronage and in most cases, were executed by quacks practicing the profession.
He said the nation’s Vision 2020 of being among the top 20 largest economies of the world may never be actualised without developing the sector which has shown great potential in contributing to the nation’s GDP.
He tasked the building professionals, academia, building material manufacturers and suppliers, construction firms, government agencies and other stakeholders to make concerted effort towards the development of the sector.
“Relationship among these bodies can be described as cyclical and interwoven. It can go a long way to ameliorate the reported skills shortage and the use of unqualified artisans faced by the industry.
“In the same vain, the professional bodies and the relevant government agencies can collaborate to arrest the spate of collapsed building regulation in the country.”
He said that the building industry, being a sub-set of the construction industry, should play a significant role in economic development and prosperity of a nation.
He added that products and services of the industry had direct impact on the society and could influence government capital expenditure on a yearly basis.
“In most nations of the world, the building and construction industry is reputed for contributing highly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of the national economy.
“However in Nigeria, the industry is yet to realise its full potentials as it contributes little to the GDP, compared to other developed nations,’’ Ossi said.
In his speech, the Corps Marshal, Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Mr Boboye Oyeyemi, said that the role of builders in the political and socio-economic development of any nation could be over-emphasised.
Oyeyemi, represented by Mr Olakunle Motajo, Head of logistics of the commission, said that while other professionals could hide their mistakes and faults under academic and professional covers, that of a builder could not be hidden.
He said that the construction industry of which builders play a significant and pivotal role should not be left in the hands of quacks and those that engage in unwholesome practices.
“A well constructed road or bridges can help to save cost of maintenance, lower time spend to travel from one point to another, and hence contribute to economic growth and wealth distribution.”
He urged players in the building industry, engineers, surveyors, town planners and others to synergise and develop ideas and concepts towards meeting the UN declaration of 2016 to December 2030.
He said the period was expected to witness sustained development in virtually all areas of human development.
He called on CORBON to arrest sharp practices and eliminate all negative activities of quacks and bring sanity to the building profession and restore confidence to the industry.
He challenged CORBON to organise programmes and courses that would expose its members to modern trends in the industry, to tackle frequent cases of collapsed buildings and loss of lives and property.
Earlier, Prof. Kabir Bala, CORBON Chairman, said the congress would reposition the Nigerian construction industry to become a powerful drive for economic growth.
Bala said the congress would advance the technical know-how of builders and building trade operatives in quality project management.
“CORBON receives only N7.5 million in two years; there is hardly any regulatory function that can take place in this kind of situation but we consider holding the congress to achieve our mandate,’’ Bala said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the highlights of the congress is the presentation of awards to some building experts for their remarkable contributions in the sector.
Some of the recipients were Govs. Ibrahim Dankwambo of Gombe and Kashim Shettima of Borno.
Others were Deputy Gov. of Bauchi State Nuhu Gidado and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development.
The the theme of the congress was “Nigerian Building Industry and National Economy: Synergies and Opportunities.”(NAN)