Surveyors tasked on sustainable infrastructure, economy diversification

Professionals under the auspices of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) have been tasked with the need to make their services count in the promotion of sustainable infrastructure and diversification of Nigeria’s economy to drive development.

Leading the call in Lagos at the 13th Annual Distinguished Lecture organised by NIQS, Lagos chapter, Partner and Chief Economist, West Africa Financial Services Leaders, Dr Andrew Nevin, said that professionals like quantity surveyors would be needed in diversification of the economy by attracting investors to the country.

Nevin, who spoke on the theme: “Economic Recovery in Infrastructure amidst Security Challenges  in Nigeria: The role of professionals in the built  environment,” expressed worries that Nigeria has as much as $900 billion worth of dead capital in residential real estate and agriculture, while the value of Federal Government’s abandoned  properties worths about N230 billion.

He challenged the professionals, saying they have a fundamental role to change the narrative through their training by harnessing the power of the Diaspora Nigerians.

“Nigeria is the largest recipient of remittance in Sub Saharan Africa (SSA), accounting for over a third of flows to the region.’ he said.

According to him, since brain capital is the country’s biggest export in human capital, he urged that professionals in the built environment should be in the forefront in making it a national strategy to improve Nigeria’s place on the global ease of doing business index.

The guest speaker said that Nigeria must find its development’s path, listing some of the top 10 themes that would shape Nigerian economy in 2021.

According to him, unless deliberate efforts were made to promote wealth creation, the nation would continue to have unemployment.

He suggested total reforms of the foreign exchange market, fuel subsidy and power sector, saying these have been “largely distorted.”

He noted that the Nigerian power and electricity industry was also challenged with low electricity generation, poor transmission infrastructure, liquidity issues, high electricity consumers’ debt due to non-cost reflective tariff, calling for major reforms.

Other stakeholders at the forum also urged government to improve the stock of infrastructure in the country to promote economic development.

Speaking, President of NIQS, Abba Tor, called on the government at all levels to give priority to provision and maintenance of infrastructure across the country.

Such Infrastructure, he said should include power, transportation, (road, rail, air, waterways), education and health as quick wins to fast track the nation’s economic development.

One of the discussants, Professor of Quantity Surveying, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Isaac Olaniyi Aje, urged professionals in the built environment to key themselves into some of the management tools for construction projects in order to be relevant.

Represented by one of the lecturers in the university, Dr Ayodeji Oke, he said “We need to change our approach to construction management. Quantity surveyors must look into value management and adopt it in our projects. We need to look at digital tools if we talk of sustainable development.”

Management Consultant, Chartered Construction Manager,Bola Abisogun, urged professionals on the need to work on data generation, while advising the  federal government to use  structured digital tools to unlock dead capital.

Another registered engineer, Mrs Olayinka Abdul, spoke on the need for professionals to change their orientation and sharpen their skills to be in-tune with global standards.

“We must use the Sustainable development Goals 9,11,19 to build the desired change,” she said, pointing out that as the economy expands, the infrastructure such as rail, highway, dam and water  may likely expand.

“We must stop doing things in silos. It is high time we team up or come together to do things,” she said.

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