BUILT ENVIRONMENT PROFESSIONALS LAMENT FG’S PREFERENCE FOR FOREIGN FIRMS 

…Call for synergy to change the odds

Professionals in the built environment in the country have been urged to work with the determination to change the odds which have for several years denied them the opportunities to execute major projects and programmes in the country, even as they lamented the Federal Government’s preference for their foreign counterparts for execution of projects.

The President, Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria, QSRBN, Alhaji Murtala Aliyu, who spoke in Abuja at the weekend against the background of government’s discrimination against indigenous built environment professionals, lamented that, over 50 years after independence, the Nigerian state is yet to be comfortable with its local expertise.

According to Aliyu, major projects and programmes are still driven by foreign firms, while substantial part of the work is done by the local workforce, pointing out that the proceeds fly out of the country leaving the locals with little or nothing.

He therefore stated that “As professionals in the built environment, we need to review our relationships with one another and redefine our own perceptions of ourselves, and of others within the industry and beyond. It is no longer an era of pushing up one profession while pushing down another. What is becoming clear to any observing mind is that the consumer is not interested in the process but the end product.

“The consumer today, unlike before, is also not bound by national restrictions. Again, because of expanded demand in human needs, cost becomes more significant. Consumers are more conscious. We must, therefore, think together, plan together and act together. This is the only way we can survive and remain relevant to our societies and to humankind. To achieve this, we need the support of the government.”

The QSRBN boss added that, “Governments all over the world try to support their internal capabilities by providing the appropriate environment, support and patronage. The Nigerian state needs to do a lot better than it is doing so far. It must be deliberate in its engagement of its local capacity. Over 50 years after independence, the Nigerian state is yet to be comfortable with its local expertise. Major projects and programmes are still driven by foreign firms. While substantial part of the work is done by the local work force, the proceeds fly out leaving the locals with little or nothing. Our experts do creditably well outside Nigeria, which means that with the right support, they can push our development to the next level.

“In fact, considering our position in Africa today, we should be exporting expertise to other countries. The Quantity Surveying profession has done a little in this direction. In spite of the local constraints, we have practices owned and operated by Nigerians in a number of African countries,” he said.

Chris Ochayi

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