ATOPCON hones town planners’ skills on project procurement

Settlement experts under the auspices of the Association of Town Planning Consultants of Nigeria (ATOPCON) have been urged to abreast themselves with procedures associated with project procurement through competitive bidding process.

This advice was giving by the ATOPCON’s President, Mr Adeniyi Odetoye,   during the Annual Professional Development Workshop organised by the association to enhance the capabilities of town planning consultants in the country.

Themed: “Project Procurement and Town Planning Consultancy”, Odetoye noted that despite the advancement of town planning consultancy in the country, many consultants are still unaware of the intricacy of the procedures involved in project procurement through competitive bidding process.

In addition to this, he stated that many of them did not even know the importance of budgetary provision as essential for effective project delivery.

For this purpose, Odetoye said the theme for the workshop was carefully selected to expose town planning consultants to major considerations in the project procurement process.

“In this light, during this two-day workshop, we will bring ourselves up to date with project procurement requirements and also consideration for budgetary provision that will be discussed extensively with the view to presenting common front to the challenges in our professional practice,” he said.

He urged members to prepare their minds to be motivated, challenged, and inspired by the insight the workshop’s papers would unveil to them, pointing out that experienced facilitators have been assembled to take them through all the facets of project procurement process.

Major highlight of the forum was the inauguration of six new member firms to the foldwhich include Godson Okafor & Partners Limited; Urbanspace Planning Consultants; Critesuccess and Associates; Hope Iyawe Associates; Georealtors Consult and Favourjk Planning and Environmental Consults.

Some of the papers presented in the forum included “Understanding Project Procurement Process in a Challenging Economy; Town Planning Consultancy and Budgetary Consideration and Physical Plan Preparation and Procurement: Nigeria Experience.”

Papers presenters at the forum included the Director-General, PPA, Onafowote Fatai Idowu; Assistant National Publicity Secretary of NITP, Dr Olakunde Akinola David; and Senior Urban Planner, Dar Al-Handsah Consultants, Owolabi Adekunle, respectively.

Speaking, National President, Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Mr Olutoyin Ayinde, remarked that despite the struggles associated with challenges of COVID-19 globally in 2020, a few opportunities to bid for a number of projects were available.

Feedback from the exercise, according to him, reflected the need to look at procurement processes again, both from the angle of ‘offeror and offeree’.

“For example, we have seen Expression of Interests (EOIs) that have been presented as they are ordinarily meant to be, and we have also seen EOIs that are obviously targeted at generating revenue. The above example makes the theme of this year’s workshop on point,” he said.

He argued that project procurement and town planning consultancy remains a subject that needed to be dissected, investigated in order to develop workable options and processes to make the practice of the profession more result oriented and, at the same time, vibrant.

“I believe that we should be able to sharpen our cutting-edge arising from this workshop,” Ayinde said.

President, Town Planners Registration Council of Nigeria, Isyaku Mukhtar, said that project procurement provided several benefits, when carefully planned and executed. He added that procurement management could help increase certainty and quality, control costs and reduce project risks ad increase profit.

Commissioner for Physical Planning in Lagos State, Dr Idris Okanla Salako, described the themed of the workshop as ‘timely’, noting that it was targeted at equipping and positioning town planners in private practice to effectively compete for high level consultancy engagements locally and internationally.

According to him, the scenario whereby members of the association indicated interest and bid for notable consultancy services without much success is worrisome.

He expressed optimism that the unwarranted situation has come to an end as the association has taken the bull by the horn by focusing on nitty-gritty of project procurement.

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