Accounting giant Pricewater Coopers (PwC) has projected an increase in real estate’s contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP) from $9.16 billion to $13.65 billion next year if the right environment is created.
It urged operators to brace themselves for the challenges ahead and key into the opportunities in the sector to grow the economy.
Managing Director, Alpha Mead Facilities and Management Services Ltd, Femi Akintunde urged facility managers to position themselves as key drivers of the real estate sector and be part of its success story.
Speaking at an event by facility managers in Lagos, Akintunde urged them to brace themselves to sustain the anticipated growth.
“Going by PWC revelation and the quest to meet the vision 2020 target, a lot needs to be done towards improved public infrastructure to drive the required positive change in the real estate and facilities management industry, in addition to improving the living condition of the average Nigerian.
“For the facilities management and real estate sectors to contribute meaningfully to the economy, practitioners must embrace global standards and best practices in the execution of projects,” Akintunde said.
He said the firm had been in the forefront of exploring ways to raise awareness, set agenda, and promote global standards in the industry.
Former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice in Lagos State, Supo Shasore (SAN) said the facilities management industry was positioned for growth.
He described as regrettable, the country’s 134th ranking of 144 economies by the World Economic Forum Global Competitiveness Report 2014-15.
Shasore lamented the deficit in Nigeria’s infrastructure, saying: “The country’s core infrastructure stock is estimated at only 35-40 per cent of GDP, in contrast to international benchmarks of 70 per cent of GDP. This low value has been driven by historically low public and private spending on infrastructure”.
The highpoint of the event was the introduction of the British Institute of Facilities Management (BIFM), Nigeria chapter, which according to Akintunde, is a welcome development to strengthen the advocacy for best practices in the industry and encourage knowledge-sharing among members and professionals.
The event drew participants from five major sectors of oil and gas, telecommunications, real estate, government, public services and financial services.
Participants from the oil and gas sector said facilities management was still at its infancy stage and could not attract the right investments thereby making it difficult for the sector to engage the services of local players.
Speaking on behalf of the financial sector, Head, Administration, Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE), Gabriel Igbeke said facilities managers lacked the financial capabilities to execute projects. He stressed the need to set up a regulatory body to oversee the operation of professionals in the sector.
He also advocated the need to train and retrain managers for efficiency.
Originally published in The Nation