There have been calls by stakeholders on the need to reposition the construction industry to become a powerful driver for the economic development of Nigeria especially with the drop in the price of oil in the international market.
This was further highlighted at the maiden edition of 2015 Builders Congress, organised by the Council of Registered Builders of Nigeria (CORBON) with the theme: “Nigerian Building Industry and National Economy: Synergies and Opportunities.”
The 4-day event which runs from November to 5, is proudly supported by Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN) and Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria(TPRCN) among others.
In his address, the chairman of CORBON, Prof Kabiru Bala, said part of the agenda of the congress was to unmask the synergies and opportunities in the building industry as well as to provide a platform for principal public and private sector players in the built environment to harness ideas and proffer solutions to projects delivery.
While noting that the congress provided a platform for the public sector, local and international business organisations to network on issues confronting the industry, he regretted that CORBON only received N7.5 million in two years which was not enough to implement most of its programmes and policies.
He appealed to stakeholders to partner with the Council to enable the construction industry contribute meaningfully towards the development of the country.
Also speaking, the permanent secretary, Federal Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, Mr George Ossi, said the building industry plays a significant role in economic development and prosperity of a nation saying that the products and services of the industry influence government’s capital expenditure yearly.
According to him, “Since the demand for shelter is the third universally accepted basic need of man after food and clothing, the industry has continued to remain relevant since human existence, so I believe through the congress that CORBON will contribute in revolutionising the building industry for sustainable economic development.”
He maintained that the industry contributed highly to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of most nations regretting that it was yet to realise its full potentials in Nigeria as it contributed little to the GDP.
Ossi identified the challenges hampering the growth of the industry as difficult business environment, dearth of technical expertise, dearth of key building materials and constrained access to credit and among others.
He confirmed that Nigeria cannot realise the Vision 20: 2020 of being the top 20 largest economies in the world without developing the building and construction industry which he said have shown tremendous potentials in contributing to the GDP.
The permanent secretary admitted that most contracts awarded to indigenous firms were done as a means of guaranteeing political patronage which were mostly executed by quacks stressing that the development of the industry required concerted efforts from all the stakeholders to create opportunities for development.
On his part, the corps marshal of the Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC), Boboye Oyeyemi, said infrastructure was indispensable to the main development target such as urbanisation, industrialisation, export promotion, equitable income distribution and suitable development adding that builders are seen as major players in infrastructure development and sustenance of national development.
Oyeyemi, who was represented by the head of logistics, who is also the assistant corp marshal,Olakunle Motajo, added that other professionals can hide their mistakes and faults under academic and professional covers but the faults and mistakes of a builder are there for all to see and judge in terms of failed structure, poorly constructed building, leaking roof of a building or a badly fitted plumbing in a building.
He advised that the construction industry should not be left in the hands of quacks, those that engage in unwholesome practices and use of substandard materials noting that well-constructed roads or bridges save cost, lower travel time thereby contributing to economic growth and wealth distribution.
The corp marshal enjoined engineers, town planners, surveyors and architects to synergise and develop ideas and concepts towards meeting the United Nations declaration of 2016 to December 2030 deadline on sustained development in all spheres of life.
He urged CORBON to intensify efforts in providing cheap and affordable housing for Nigerians especially in Abuja and other urban locations even as he challenged them on the need to arrest sharp practices and eliminate all negative activities of quacks so as to restore confidence in the industry.
He maintained that there was the need for builders to insist on international best practices noting that those involved with designs and execution must consider the environmental impact of designs and develop sound management plans which include site safety, noise and environmental pollutions control and among others.
Oyeyemi challenged CORBON to initiate programmes and courses that would further expose its members to modern trend in the building industry and synergise with other professionals in order to reduce frequent cases of collapsed buildings, loss of lives and properties.
Also, the deputy governor of Bauchi, Nuhu Gidado, said that both CORBON and NIOB needed to synergise on ways of moving the profession forward.
He appealed to CORBON registrar to host the 2nd edition of Builders Congress in Bauchi insisting that builders were supposed to dominate project management.
Responding, the president of Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN), Mallam Hussaini Dikko, commended the association for hosting the congress.
Dikko said that quantity surveyors needed to move beyond the basic certificate qualification of the industry.
Source : Leadership