Stories by Maduka Nweke
PROFESSIONALS in the construction sector have blamed the Federal Government for its penchant for foreign contractors in the execution of its project. The experts who spoke recently at a forum, argued that the use of foreigners in the construction sector does not allow the local professionals the opportunity to grow since it is by practicing that one matures and becomes expert.
The professionals, last week, took stock of the performance in the real estate sector during the recession and how the sector would fare in the post-recession period, even as they believe that the effect of the recession was more on the artisans because most of the projects carried out were contracted out to foreigners.
Speaking at the 2017 edition of the Property and Environment Writers of Nigeria (PEWAN) conference held at the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) Conference Centre, Agidingbi, Lagos, the professionals that graced the event, including the Nigerian Institute of Architects, the Society of Engineers, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, the Nigerian Institution of Surveyors, Building Collapse Prevention Guide, among others, urged government to look inwards for local patronage.
In his goodwill address, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, the Ooni of Ife, while speaking on the state of the economy, expressed optimism that the country will get it right as long as the citizens join hands with government in its policies.
The Ooni, who was represented at the event by Oba Adebanjo Adedinni, Asoya of Isoya, Ile Ife, and his counterpart, Oba Adetokunbo Anosunge, Elejesi of Ife Kingdom, assured the organisers of the event of his commitment to the course of the construction industry, especially infrastructure provision and housing delivery.
He said, “I’m happy with what you people are doing. Without you, the Property and Environment Writers, most of the successes we recorded in Nigeria and the ills that have bedevilled our society will not be known. You are assured of my commitment to the course of construction industry, especially infrastructure provision and housing delivery.”
Also speaking on the theme of the event, “Economic Recovery: The Role of Construction Sector in Post Recession Nigeria”, the Chairman of the occasion, and the Founding Partner/ Consultant, M.I. Okoro and Associates, Dr. Meckson Okoro, said that foreign construction firms that are usually the beneficiaries of most contracts awarded in Nigeria, usually repatriate all the funds to their countries, adding that the capital flight is injurious to the nation’s economy.
Okoro, who commended PEWAN for setting agenda on issues of economic growth and development, tasked the Federal Government to show more commitment to the construction sector.
He extolled the noble contributions of the association to the development of construction industry, noting with disappointment that the guest speaker of the event, Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, was neither present nor represented.
“I think it’s not good enough that the supposed guest speaker, in the person of Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, and the host, the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Akinwunmi Ambode, were neither here nor represented. The organisers of this event are the message carriers of their activities. I think it’s quite unfair that they were not part of this event,” he lamented.