Except the government restructures the nation’s taxation system, the needed funds for infrastructure projects in all sectors of the economy would remain a mirage, quantity surveyors, under the aegis of Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) have said.
They spoke at the 11th Annual Distinguished Lecture of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Lagos Chapter, themed: “Challenges of Social Infrastructure Development: The Effects of Executive Order 007, 2019 on Road Infrastructure Development over Key Infrastructure.’’
Leading discussion on the theme, President, Commonwealth Association of Surveying and Land Economy, Mr. Segun Ajanlekoko noted that there is a fundamental problem in the nation’s infrastructure that needed to be addressed.
According to him, since all sectors of the economy require basic infrastructure like road, security, electricity and credit facilities to group, there is need for the restructuring of the nation’s taxation system to serve as catalyst for the provision of needed funds for infrastructure.
To Ajanlekoko, restructuring the tax regime will ensure that greater percentage of the population could pay tax, while the proceeds would be used to provide the needed infrastructure.
He said: “Poverty is written all over the faces of the citizens. Unfortunately, government is not looking at the direction of the people to provide the necessary infrastructure that will boost business activities and enhance their living standards,” he said.
For the President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS), Mr. Obafemi Onashile, the Federal Government should focus more on development of capital projects as a way of stimulating the economy.
Onashile, who was represented by the Vice-President of the institute, Mr. Olayemi Shonubi said it is through capital project developments that money could flow into the economy.
According to him, government needs to spend to move the economy out of poverty by continually investing in it, particularly in capital projects.
“The nation’s capital expenditure is low when compared with the current expenditure. The high cost of doing business in Nigeria is due to poor infrastructure.
“The fees paid by importers and manufacturers to convey goods to their needed destinations due to poor road network system has made it pertinent that the government pay more attention to infrastructure development, particularly road,” he added.
Also, president, Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN), Mallam Murtala Aliyu stressed the need for public private participation in driving infrastructure development.
The keynote speaker and member of the Policy and Regulation Sub-Committee of the Nigeria Industrial Policy and Competitiveness Advisory Counsel, (NIPCAC), Mr. Ajibola Olomola, said the main objective of the Executive Order 007, 2019 was to accelerate road infrastructure development for balanced economic growth in Nigeria.
Olomola, a Partner, in KPMG Nigeria , said this objective would be better achieved by granting approvals to private entities to construct and refurbish eligible roads across the country.
“Under the scheme, companies that are, for instance, disposed to spending their own funds on constructing roads to their factory and business locations, will recover their construction costs by paying reduced taxes, over a period of time.
“Nigerian has made efforts to fix the infrastructure needs, but there is still gap,” he said.
According to him, everyone has a role to play in fixing the infrastructure gap.
Olomola said that Quantity Surveyors should be more proactive in the evaluation and costing of infrastructure projects in the country.
Earlier, chairman of Lagos chapter of NIQS, Mr. Ayuba Akere, stressed the need for more stakeholders’ engagement for full private sector participation in infrastructure development.
According to him, quantity surveyors as cost managers should be critical stakeholders in the execution of infrastructure projects in the country.