The tone of activities in the construction and built environment in the year may have been set quite early as stakeholders and practitioners at the close of last year, put forth suggestions on how to reshape in the industry.
The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveying (NIQS), at its 26th Biennial Conference in Lagos, called for efforts by professionals in various fields to reshape the quality of policies. In specific terms, the NIQS charged professionals, especially those in the built environment, to get actively involved in politics and decision- making in the country.
Under the theme, “Politics, policies and national development – The role of professionals,” the immediate past president of the institute, Mallam Murtala Aliyu, said the choice of the theme was informed by the way professionals disregard the consequences of ignoring politics, leaving the fundamental aspects of their survival in the hands of persons with little or no capacity to handle such sensitive enterprise.
The conference afforded built environment professionals, both at home and the international community, the opportunities to discuss issues relating to politics generally, policy formulation and implementation that could enhance national development. There were technical and panel discussion sessions on policy making and economy, accountable politics, effects of regulations on politics of service, the role of professionals, professional bodies and experiences in the construction industry in other countries, such as South Africa, Ghana and Kenya.
According to Aliyu, professionals should be mobilised to take their deserved position in redefining the direction of the development of the country.
“The economic challenges facing the country, especially the fall in the price of oil further put pressure on the dwindling income of the country demanding the attention of all expertise in managing the nation’s resources,” he said.
A former president of the institute, Mr. John Alufohai, noted that professionals could bring about national development when they engage in politics.
At the end of the event, it was also recommended that Professional Bodies should establish a functional research arm in form of think tank and the outcome of the research made public; to ensure accountability, a central body of professionals should be set up that will monitor and make those in government accountable. The central body is expected to develop frameworks that will make government more accountable to the populace; there should also be the establishment of cost data bank with adequate dissemination of information to all stakeholders.
Furthermore, the body recommended the adoption of international construction measurement standards , stating that this would enhance the activities of the industry since Nigeria is said to be next to China in construction activities; that professional bodies should use their expertise to make policies that are feasible.
In terms of investment, the NIQS recommended that good governance should entail investment locally, while investing abroad should only be in terms of surplus. To this end, it urged government to not only attract foreign direct investment, but should also retain it.
The conference was attended by a large number of professionals from the Nigerian Built Environment and delegates from South Africa, Ghana, Kenya and Zambia, including Nigerian students. Others include Senator Ahmad Abubarkar (Adamawa South Senatorial Zone and Honourable Biodun Olasupo Adeola (Chairman, House Committee on Legislative Compliance); the past and presidents of the Association of Africa Quantity Surveyors (AAQS), Mr. Michael Frimpong and Prof Rob Pearl and President of Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy, Mr. Segun Ajanlekoko.
Originally published in The Nation