NIQS seeks stricter project monitoring to curb corruption

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BPP to review contracts for building projects
Except the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) adopt stricter monitoring strategies of projects, the high level of corruption going on within the construction industry would remain unchallenged, quantity surveyors have said.

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The body under the aegis of Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) made the revelation in Abuja when a delegation of the National Executive Council (NEC) of the institute led by its President, Obafemi Onashile paid a courtesy visit to the Director General, BPP, Mamman Ahmadu.

The institute noted that the limiting of BPP’s oversight to due diligence at pre-award stage of projects only and non execution of project monitoring duties at the actual execution of the projects on site is still making massive corruption to persist on government projects with attendant negative consequences on the economy.

Onashile said for BPP to make a much better impact in delivering value-for-money for the nation, it must take its oversight influence beyond the pre-award of contracts. Even throughout the construction phase of the projects that they had earlier authorized to ensure that approvals are not circumvented through the possible corrupt compromise of either quality standards or the specified sizes of such projects or both in order to reduce the actual costs without passing the cost reduction to the government.

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The NIQS boss also called for the introduction of forensic audits for very large and complex completed projects within six years of their completion to ensure that another independent layer of scrutiny is brought to bear on the investment in the project as obtains in disciplined economy like the US.

Onashile further implored the BPP to look into the development of another alternative form of contract to the currently existing BPP form of contract, which whilst working very well for civil engineering projects is quite deficient for building projects that comes with peculiar and different administrative procedures.

While acknowledging the improvement of the BPP in fast tracking due diligence processes and ensuring faster commencement of government projects, the NIQS President called for the engagement of more quantity surveyors as staff of the agency to enable it discharge its responsibility of oversight of public procurement efficiently and effectively.

“We believe that as experts trained to provide total cost and procurement management of capital projects from conception to completion, we have vital roles to play in prudent costing of projects, procurement management and project monitoring to ensure better earned value for money,” Onashile said.

He called for collaboration between the BPP and the NIQS as well as its regulation body, Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN) through availing sponsorship for cost researches being undertaken by QSRBN/NIQS in the forms of construction cost database research project and also construction costing softwares development.

In his response, Ahmadu commended the NIQS for its readiness to partner with relevant agencies of Federal Government to reduce cost of construction projects and ensuring compliance with best practices.

Ahmadu admonished the NIQS to set up stiffer penalties for any of their professional members that may be found guilty on corruption charges on any project and to bar such member from ever practicing as a professional of the Institute.

He confirmed that the BPP is already in the process of procuring the services of a transaction adviser to review and advise on the alternative form of contract that will best suit building projects.

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