Minister of Works and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has highlighted the potentials and contribution of building/construction industry in Nigeria to the nation’s economy, saying in literature, construction is well recognised as a significant sector of any economy.
According to Fashola who spoke on “Building to Prosperity, Leading 100 Million out of Poverty”, “The building or construction industry has influenced our modern world in several distinct and marked ways. It is responsible for millions of jobs and it contributes significantly to GDP in most countries. The range of jobs offered by building/construction industry is particularly diverse and could include unskilled, semi-skilled and skilled work force.
“Its impact has been known to generate one of the highest multiplier effects through its extensive backward and forward linkages with other sectors of the economy”.
The Minister who made this disclosure at the just concluded Investiture of the President, Nigerian Institute of Building NIOB, Mr. Kunle Awobodu, in Abuja, said “It might interest you to note that the impact of the construction industry on a national economy (especially when it is treated in isolation) has not always been found to be consistently positive. In many instances, this industry has been criticized for its generally lacklustre performance; its tendencies to overshoot time lines; to overrun budgets and to under perform as a production entity.
“This explains why this industry or sector is often neglected by policy makers who are suspicious of its capacity to drive economic growth. This explains why active players in that industry (including you professional builders) must rebuild confidence in this industry. But I have known from personal experience and from my adventures in public service that the construction sector is a veritable pilot of national prosperity. I have been consistent in defending this position.
“At the onset of the first tenure of this administration, Mr. President graciously approved the implementation of the New National Housing Programme NHP, as strategic and direct intervention to redressing the runaway national housing deficit figures. By means of sizeable budgetary appropriations and significant releases, the new NHP has in its Phase 1 produced well laid out housing neighbourhoods in each of the thirty-four (34) states and at the FCT.
“Typically, each estate covers an average of five hectares and contains between 72 and 80 units of one-bedroom, two-bedroom and three-bedroom houses. The adopted house-types vary from state to state but each is selected to reflect peculiarities of culture and regional preferences.
“Specifically, the house types comprise detached and semi-detached bungalows and flats in blocks of multi-level condominium buildings. Moreover, each neighbourhood is provided with a full complement of support infrastructure and adequate provision is made for public spaces and ancillary facilities. The first Phase of the new NHP is practically completed in about 20 states and contracts have been awarded for commencement of Phase 2 in 23 states”, Fashola stated.
The Minister who revealed that the already completed 2584 housing units of the housing programme had provided 129,200 jobs for artisans during their construction, said the capacity of the construction sector to create jobs is equally very visible in roads and highway development, as hordes of artisans, technicians and semi-skilled workers are invariably absorbed into different aspects of civil works targeted at construction, maintenance and rehabilitation of roads.
Speaking on “Promoting the Growth of a Nation Through Professionalism in Building”, NIOB President, Kunle Awobodu said “The pledge of NIOB to Nigerians is the development of competent builders. However, it will be counterproductive for the growth of the construction industry if competent builders are not engaged. When the number of buildings being constructed in Nigeria is juxtaposed with the number of trained builders, there seems to be a missing link.
“Quacks are occupying the space meant for competent builders. It is only in a nation that lacks a veritable building code and effective mechanism for the implementation of building regulations that such an aberration could exist.
“The major problem confronting the nation’s built environment is the attitude of not understanding and appreciating the importance of appropriate building production management. Any society that allows the construction of its buildings to become the all comers’ affairs is bound to reap a bountiful project failure in its various manifestations”, Awobodu lamented.