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.
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.
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.
The Lagos State Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Rotimi Ogunleye, says the state government is working on a new template for building filling stations, which will soon be released to the public.
The state government had last year placed an embargo on the approval and construction of filling stations in all parts of the state till further notice.
The immediate past Commissioner for Physical Planning and Urban Development, Wasiu Anifowose, had disclosed that the government had decided not to grant construction permit for filling stations pending the inventory of existing ones.
Ogunleye, at a stakeholders’ interactive session in Amuwo Odofin and Oriade, explained that the government placed an embargo on building approval for filling stations to prevent fire disasters.
According to him, the increasing rate at which filling stations are springing up in the state has become dangerous.
He said, “Recently, we placed an embargo on the building of filling stations in the country. We are passionate about what is happening in our state and we do not want cases of fire incidences. We have realised that people are just building filling stations in areas that are not meant for them, which is dangerous. Filling stations owners no longer obey the rule of 400 metres distance. The proliferation of the filling station needs to be controlled.
“We all know the flammability of products sold by the filling stations. We will inform the general public when we lift the embargo and begin to approve building plans for filling stations again. We are currently developing a procedure and an implementable code.”
The commissioner also appealed to residents of the state to seek adequate information on land and properties before purchasing them, adding that securing planning permit for land increases its value.
He also stated that residents must build in a way that would not disturb others in the state.
Ogunleye said, “Before now, people were not bothered about securing approval for their properties because of registered titles, but the Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode, has given permission for approval without registered titles. Now, with the family receipt and duty stamp by the commissioner, you will be given provisional approval.
“It is important that you get planning permit for any kind of construction you are embarking on, even if you are building with woods or irons. If you do not get approval before building, you will be penalised. We have given amnesty to land owners to come and obtain their permit between March 1 and August 31 without being punished. During this period, no one will be penalised. I urge people to key into the state government’s plan to boost investment and job creation through adequate planning.”
The Special Adviser to the Governor on Urban Development, Mrs. Yetunde Onabule, also cautioned residents of the state against encroaching on government’s land.
She said there were no vacant or free land in the state as plans had been made for most available land.
Onabule added, “We want a safe, secure, functional and useful community that can compete favourably with London, Dubai and other developed cities of the world. They achieved that because people in those countries engaged in planning. We should also plan well and obey government laws. We are the ones causing setbacks to the development of this state because we often disobey and build illegally.
“We also erect structures on drainage, under the staircase and places that threaten our safety. Lagos has plans for all the land you see. Do not think that they are free or unused; finances may just delay their usage and construction. All those places turned to roadside markets today have their own plans. They are reserved for certain purposes.”
The immediate past President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Dr. Joshua Patunola-Ajayi, has warned against patronising people he described as quacks, who defraud innocent people in the real estate business.
He spoke in Ibadan during the 48th Annual Conference of the institution, which ended on Saturday and during which Patunola-Ajayi completed his term of office.
According to him, there is a huge difference between real estate professionals and estate agents on the street, while expressing sadness that despite the existence of the law guiding the practice of real estate, many people still boldly go against the law.
He said, “Many people do not know the difference between our members and estate agents on the street. Many people are doing estate agency just to survive but our own business is practised by trained individuals who are certified by the body.
“Despite the law that specifies who should practice the profession, we still have many people going against the law. Eradicating quacks in real estate is a big fight that the government must address to protect the industry and help economic development. There is a code of ethics in the profession that protects tenants and ordinary people from being defrauded. I urge people to patronise professionals in the industry to guard against being defrauded.”
While highlighting the impact of the annual conference on the economy and ordinary people, Patunola-Ajayi stated that members were provided with an avenue to develop their capacities, which would in turn benefit the nation’s economy.
He said, “The annual national conference was an opportunity to give intensive lectures to members on how to improve on their work. It was also an avenue to network and enable our members to update their skills and meet the global best practices in the profession.
“Among the issues addressed were potential of the real estate sector as a veritable tool for economic development and ethical concerns in infrastructural development. When we come together in a conference, we have in our hearts what positive impact we will have on the people.”
The new NIESV President, Mr. Roland Abonta, said the conference was held to address how Nigeria could take advantage of the investment opportunities in the sector.
The Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors has called on the Bureau of Public Procurement to adopt stricter monitoring strategies of projects as a way to curb corruption in the country.
The institute made the call in Abuja when a delegation of its National Executive Council led by the President, Mr. Obafemi Onashile, paid a courtesy visit to the Director-General, BPP, Mr. Mamman Ahmadu.
The NIQS noted that the limiting of the BPP’s oversight to due diligence at the pre-award stage of projects only and non-execution of project monitoring duties during the actual execution on sites were the reasons massive corruption persisted in government projects with the attendant negative consequences on the economy.
Onashile was quoted to have said that for the BPP to make better impact in delivering value for the nation, it must take its oversight influence beyond the pre-award of contracts to the entire phase of the projects it had earlier authorised to ensure that approvals were not circumvented through the possible compromise of either quality standards or the specified sizes of such projects, or both.
He stated, “Forensic audits should be introduced for very large and complex 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 economies like the United States.
“When contractors realise that forensic audit can be conducted on their projects way after the delivery by different sets of officers and that they can be called back to account for short-changes on the completed projects, this will further discourage corrupt tendencies between the contractors and the supervising Ministries, Department and Agencies of government, or consultants.”
Onashile also urged the BPP to look into the development of another alternative Form of Contract to the existing one, which he noted that while it worked very well for civil engineering projects, it was quite deficient for building projects with peculiar and different administrative procedures.
The Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun will be distributing Certificates of Occupancy and other land title documents to another batch of beneficiaries under the Homeowners’ Charter Programme.
The Director-General, Bureau of Lands and Survey, Mr. Biyi Ismail, who disclosed this in his office, said beneficiaries would be collecting their documents as from Wednesday, March 28, 2018 by 9am prompt at the Arcade Ground, Governor’s office, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta.
Although the Lagos State Government has allayed fears that the Land Use Charge (LUC) will have negative effect on tenants, there are strong indications that property owners may not escape its crippling consequences. This is because, the introduction of LUC, will definitely increase the cost of property and that will have a ripple effect on the cost of hiring property. Tenants will therefore be made to pay the difference. This will start immediately for those who are about to pay for accommodation while those who have already paid will have to wait till next year when their rents will expire.
Because of the way the LUC was introduced, residents are calling reversal of the increase slammed on land/building owners in Lagos by the administration of Governor Akinwunmi Ambode. At the vanguard of opposition to the new rate are opposition political parties, residents of highbrow estates in Lagos, business and professional associations. The state government has used all available instruments to pass the message across. But despite the efforts, the message is not going down well with residents of the state including trade professionals.
The Organised Private Sector (OPS) has already indicated that the review was not adequate.
A political party, Action Democratic Party (ADP), for instance, described the increase in the LUC as obnoxious, while claiming that the new levy would geometrically increase the level of hardship residents of the state face.
ADP argued that the increase would lead to an upsurge in rents paid by Lagosians and subsequently render many homeless. The party added that government exists for the people and people are not supposed to suffer in the hands of those who are serving them as a result of callous policies by the government of Lagos State.
“If the state government is out on an aggressive revenue drive, it should not be done in a manner that will further wreak the already poor and struggling majority in the state,” ADP added.
For its part, the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Ikeja branch, expressed displeasure at the new charges, which it argued will lead to further impoverishment of over 17,000,000 Lagosians.
NBA maintained that the poor economy is already negatively affecting the people while urging the governor to be sensitive in implementing policies that would gravely affect the residents of the state. According to the lawyers, if after seven days, Governor Ambode fails to reverse the new charges under the LUC Law 2018, they will go out on full protest.
Speaking on the planned protest, the Chairman of the branch, Mr. Adesina Ogunlana, said the protest march tagged, ‘Hell’ would start from the branch secretariat in Ikeja all the way to the Lagos State Secretariat in Alausa. Ogunlana said the branch was set to begin the first phase of critical and constructive response to the “decidedly insensitive, provocative, arbitrary and parochial tax agenda programme” against the Ambode administration. According to him, it is clear that if these regimes of tax are allowed to stay, Lagos would be turned into a toxic environment and a living hell.
“Even ordinarily in Lagos State, accommodation is only cheap and easily affordable for those who live in the parks and under the bridge. The governor should not hide under the umbrella of working to develop Lagos into a mega-smart city to kill Lagosians with pharaonic taxes. We urge the governor to rethink his decision and immediately scrap the increment in the LUC or risk being voted out of office as he is seeking second term.”he said.
Similarly, the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), said stakeholders were not consulted before the decision to increase the charges was made.
They added that the increase would contribute to the folding up of many companies in Lagos. MAN, through its President, Frank Jacobs, noted that the state would be setting a bad precedence for other states if the law stands. Jacob also noted that members of MAN would be affected by the law because it will lead to increase in the price of locally-made goods and finished commodities in the state thus killing local companies in the country.
But the governor, at a parley with the OPS, tagged: “Lagos Means Business” held at the Eko Hotel and Towers, Victoria Island, Lagos, recently told the audience comprising business moguls and captains of industry that the LUC was supposed to be reviewed every five years, but lamented that the law had not been reviewed since 2002 when it was set up, which spanned about 15 years. But those who analysed the matter believe that successive governments ran away from it on the ground of its sensitivity and economic conditions of the citizens. They argued that it was insensitivity that beclouded his sense of reasoning coupled with the massive support he got during the elections that brought him as governor.
The governor maintained that, “now, the question is this; those who are having commercial property, if they compare the rental income they were getting in 2002 against the rental income they are getting in 2017, are they the same? The issue is this, the level of infrastructure that existed in 2002 as against what has happened in the last 15 years, are they the same? Did it not come at a cost? So, why is the market value of the property you built with N1 million, 15 years after, now selling at N20 million?
“Why do you think somebody who is a buyer will pay N20 million for it? Is it not because of the facilities around the property? So, we have to sacrifice; that is how it works everywhere. So, somebody comes and says we have increased by 400 per cent. The question is, the 400 per cent of what? You were paying N10,000 before, now we say you should pay N50,000 and you are calculating and turning statistics upside down by saying it is 400 per cent. Is it not still small?” Ambode asked while justifying the increase in LUC.
To make the bill pass through, the Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyemi Ashade, laboured in his capacity as the man in charge of the court and said that the government has extended the period for taxpayers to enjoy the 15 per cent discount in the reviewed LUC law to April 14, 2018 to enable the implementation and enforcement of the new law, as well as allow many property owners to benefit from the discount.
Ashade took time to clarify reactions to some sections of the public on the new law. He explained that under the old law, which had not been reviewed for over 15 years, the LUC rate was totally inaccurate and retrogressive and was depriving the state of keeping track of all economic activities that relate to land in Lagos State.
He stated that the rates, which were reviewed by the Lagos State House of Assembly and signed into law by the Governor on February 8, 2018, is a merger of all property and land-based rates and charges in the state.
According to him, the new law is a consolidation of ground rent, tenement rate, and neighbourhood improvement levy.
This charge is payable annually in respect of all real estate properties in the State, which means owners and occupiers holding a lease to a property for 10 years or more are now liable to pay the annual LUC invoice charged. Thus, the Tenement Rates Law, the Land Based Rates Law, the Neighbourhood Improvement Charge and all other similar Property Rates or Charges, Laws or amendments to any such property Laws shall cease to apply to any property in Lagos State as from 2018. Nonetheless, all pending invoices, orders, rules, regulations, etc. under the 2001 repealed Law shall continue to be in effect until such obligations are discharged, “he stated.
The organizers of Abujahousingshow will be highlighting housing successes across Nigeria at this year’s 12th Abuja International Housing Show.
I invite and encourage all stakeholders in the Real Estate Industry to send in their stories – including photos and videos too. This is a unique opportunity to showcase your housing success and share your strategies with Lenders, foreign investors, industry colleagues and policy makers.
Are you a Non-Profit or NGO that has assisted an exemplary special needs housing project? Are you a Mortgage Bank that assisted a family overcome substantial obstacles to purchase their first home? Are you a Federal or State Agency that has an effective strategy for housing homeless Nigerians? Are you a State Housing Finance Agency whose repossession intervention / prevention program changed the life of individuals or families? Are you a Professional Association that has created a working partnership that could be a model for other Advocacy Groups? Do you do an excellent job of showcasing and marketing your NHF success stories? Have NHF FUNDS impacted the life of a local family?
If so, email your housing success stories to Abujahousingshow at firstname.lastname@example.org by May 31st, 2018.
Your story / project could be listed on our website and featured during the four day conference……..
The NBA Chairman, Mr Adeshina Ogunlana, told a media briefing on Wednesday that the reduction “is a sham and a calculated ploy to hoodwink the people of Lagos State”.
“The rates are a fraud and farce, ” he said.
Ogunlana claimed that there was no proper evaluation of properties in the state and that property owners were unaware of it or involved in any evaluation of their properties.
“When the government says it is slashing cost, they are only deceiving people; the amounts reduced are mere fantasies of their imagination.”
He also said the NBA objected to the House of Assembly’s setting up of a committee to review the Land Use Charge 2018.
Ogunlana urged Gov. Akinwunmi Ambode to prevail on the House to call a public hearing on the proposed amendment to the legislation which must be accompanied by a draft sent to stakeholders ahead of the hearing.
“If Ambode wants to do a thorough and clean job, he should publish the proposed amendments through the media and give no less than a month for its study by concerned bodies before the public hearing takes place.”
The NBA had on March 13, stages a protest tagged, ” Walk The Talk” which in solidarity, was supported by the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), civil society bodies and professionals. Others are the Committee for Defence of Human Rights (CDHR), Joint Action Front (JAF) and the Human and Environmental Agenda (HEDA)
The protest which lasted about three hours, was meant to kick against the Land Use Charge Law 2018, excessive litigation cost, borehole tax, car registration tax of the Lagos State Government.
Ogunlana said: “The people of Lagos are not against increase in taxation, but the Land Use Charge, high litigation cost, borehole levies and car registration law 2018; they must be repealed because they are oppressive and illegal.
“If by Thursday, March 29, the Lagos State Government fails to positively consider our position, the NBA Ikeja branch shall embark on another protest.”
Declaring a workshop for real estate developers, with the theme ‘Enhancing Real Estates Development Through Collaborative Effort open, Minister of State (2) for Power, Works and Housing, Suleiman Hassan, explained that the Federal Government’s plan to solve the scarcity of houses for Nigerians in the bud, was ongoing.
He stated that with the planned and sustained partnership with the private sector, more houses will be sufficient to meet the needs of the teaming population.
On the part of REDAN, it warned the Federal Government against giving licenses to land speculators, which, according to the professional body, would continue to make houses unavailable and unaffordable to Nigerians.
REDAN also stressed that the only way houses can be available and affordable, considering the increase in population, was for the Federal Government to embark on infrastructural development and create of access roads.
President of REDAN, Mr. Ugochukwu Chime, pledged that the association would not rest on its oars in ensuring that houses remain available and affordable to Nigerians.
Chime frowned at the high rate of interests collected from members which according to him is a limiting factor.
“REDAN will not rest on her mission to forge a common unity of purpose in the real estate sector,” he vowed.
He added that “after a careful appraisal of the challenges in the real estate environment, REDAN in 2015 set an ambitious agenda of building a strong institution with enhanced succession internally, and a coalition of collaborators with stakeholders. That effort is burgeoning and eventually crystallize to the desired efforts to change the real estate landscape of Nigeria.”
Still speaking on the workshop, Chime, stated that the data that will emerge from the exercise will enable appropriate planning, forecasting to take place and justification for some of the envisaged intervention by government.
The President of the Nigerian Institute of Builders NIOB) Kenneth Nduka, has said the inability of Nigerians to buy or rent houses is the major factor responsible for the large numbers of unoccupied houses in Abuja and some major cities in Nigeria. He said despite the huge housing deficit in the country houses in Abuja are not designed to recognise the classes of people in terms of income as beautiful houses in Abuja are occupied by lizards, spiders, rats and rodents because people can’t afford the rent.
Nduka made this disclosure recently in Abuja while speaking with journalist at the Real Estate Exhibition.
He said one of the reasons many people come to work in Abuja from the outskirts is because houses are on the high side adding that housing in Abuja is not designed to recognise the classes of people in terms of income. The president said the way forward is for professionals to be drafted into the processes of housing delivery both at its design and the implementation level.
“Someone has to ensure that the right needs of occupants are provided. That’s the only way to ensure that needs satisfaction can be interfaced so that houses will be built and people will be able to occupy them,” he said.