Glimmer of hope is beaconing towards solving problems confronting the nation’s built environment as professionals in the sector have entered into strategic move to address the problem.One of the rewards of such move was the call for the establishment of Nigerian Construction Industry Development Board (cibd), which they said would be saddled with the roles of; formulating, implementing, regulating policies and initiatives that will speed up development processes especially in infrastructure across the country.
Before now, the construction sector has been bedeviled with challenges like, absence of construction firms in the stock exchange and international market, dominance of expatriate firms, lack of executive and financial capacity, reluctance of both public and private clients to pay fees for consultancy services.Others are; prolonged delay in projects delivery, high- overrun cost, high accident and injury rates and sub-standard or poor quality of works, dearth of local skilled labour, poor inflow of private sector funds, high level of corruption, payment insecurity, among others.
To address these challenges and with the exposé that infrastructure development is the basic facilities, equipment, and installations required for the growth of a society, professionals in the industry converged in lagos to sensitise their folds on the desirability of the CIDB for nigeria at this critical moment of infrastructural deficits. the gathering was converged by the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS).
The professionals include the presidents of the Nigerian Institute of Architects (NIA), Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Nigerian Institute of Town Planners (NITP), Nigerian Institution of Surveyors (NIS), Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), commonwealth association of surveying and land economy, and heads of regulatory bodies in the housing sector
Leading discussion on the issue, a former Head of Department of Building, University of Lagos, Prof. Godwin Idoro posited that the proposed CIDB is an agency, which serves as a platform for promoting the growth and development of the construction industry, and reposition it for improved performance to enhance its contribution to the economic growth and development of particular nations. he said the board would spearhead the development of capacity, capability and quality of output as well as domestic and international competitiveness of the construction industry.
According to him, the establishment of CIDB has been one of the key recommendations of several research works on the nature and prospects of the construction industries of developing countries stressing that some developing countries like; Ghana, South Africa, Kenya, India, Malaysia, Singapore and others have embraced the concept with attendant pay-offs especially in the realisation of their national goals.
Speaking on the drivers of CIDB in a paper entitled; “the need for the establishment of the Nigerian construction industry development board”, he said it can be a government agency which works with and draw guidance and support from a coalition of public and private sector organisations, all service providers in the construction industry, and all arms of government.
It can also be a private sector driven agency comprising all stakeholders which collaborates with all arms of government. the focus of CIDB is all projects or facilities, resources and activities in both public and private sectors that are related to construction. it is thus, an omnibus body to promote the growth and development of construction practices, processes, projects, facilities and entities”, he stated.
He proposed that the board should include; one representative from each of the regulatory bodies in the industry, one representative from each of the professional bodies, Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria, Federal Ministries connected with works, lands and housing, one representative from each geopolitical zones of the country, the Green Building Council of Nigeria, the Nigerian Building and Road Research Institute, the construction industry local content board and universities offering construction related programmes among others.
“The board would train for capacity building, monitor economic activities within the industry, consult with all organs of states to identify construction budgets and their application, assess impact of public expenditure on the industry and advise government accordingly, promote export of construction of goods and services, collect statistics from contractors, suppliers, manufacturers and service providers in the industry on their activities and performance such as labour cost, growth rates, units costs, size and volume of projects subjects to nbs law as well as publish periodic reports on the state of the construction industry and others”.
Prof. Idoro however, noted that to achieve the vision, all the professionals and parties couldn’t afford to operate in isolation, as effective delivery of a construction project is the joint efforts of all the professions represented to bring about collaborative or cooperative professionalism in the nigerian construction industry.
The convener of the gathering and NIQS president, Obafemi Onashile explained that the vision when realized would eliminate intra and inter-rivalry and conflicts within each profession, review and improve on the current performance of the industry by collectively focusing and come up with solutions to the urgent problems of; health and safety, housing deficit, shortage of artisans, non-payments of works, and environmental issues.
According to him, cidb would strategically engage the government by speaking with a single but collective voice to the government through policy statements, budget advice and programme monitoring. he further stated that it will engender industry-wide self discipline and self regulation in promoting professionalism, promote successful succession by taking interest in training and growing future leaders for the sector at very early ages, revitalise industrial training fund to pay training institution, establish young professionals’ forum and pursue gainful employments for young entrants.
President of niesv, dr. bolarinde patunola-ajayi who applauded the initiative called for a stakeholder deliberation on the matter as way to ensure speedy take off of the initiative and dissuade those who belief that it is a difficult task.
Also contributing the president of commonwealth association of surveying and land economy; joseph ajanlekoko explained that nigeria would be a better place if the board is established. he pointed out that if the nation should have a vibrant construction industry, it would quicken the paste of development of the country.
“it will create numerous employment opportunities to nigerians and other professionals and the country will retain the giant that it should be in africa. government should play the role of a catalyst and create the enabling environment for the private sector to take it up. there should be efficiency in the setup, professionalism and competency”.
He noted that for the board to takeoff, it would require the act of the parliament particularly the passage of law on the construction industry board and once that is passed, it becomes operational and then all the professionals would come together and do the necessary structuring of the board in his address, the special guest of honour at the occasion, retired general theophilus danjuma who was conferred with the highest honourary fellow of niqs for his strategic contributions and impact in the construction industry, lamented the current high cost of construction in the country and advised that the sectors’ players must do everything possible to reduce the cost.Nse president, kunle mokuolu, in his contributions called for collaboration between the professional bodies for the purpose of exploring the abundant opportunities in the industry as well as in the establishment of cidb.