By Jude Njoku
Several years after the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) failed to strike a reciprocity accord with the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the Lagos State chapter of the Institute has renewed reciprocity talks with RICS.
Chairman of the chapter, Mr. Jide Oke who led a high- powered delegation of 24 quantity surveyors to Dubai for an international professional assignment, had special sessions with the Regional Director of RICS-MENEA (MENEA is the acronym for Middle East, North East and Africa), Mr. Jim Drysdale on the issue of RICS reciprocity with NIQS members.
Mr. Oke who disclosed this to newsmen in Lagos, explained presentations were made by the delegation to buttress the strategic position of Nigeria to MENEA. “This is also against the background of recent world report that Nigeria, among other nations would emerge as the next economic giant in the construction sector in the next decade (year 2020) and for RICS to be relevant in the scheme of things, it cannot continue to ignore Nigeria,” he said.
Giving reasons why reciprocity with RICS has become necessary, Mr. Oke explained that it is becoming increasingly difficult for quantity surveyors who have only the NIQS professional certification to practise outside the shores of Nigeria. With RICS certification which is internationally recognised, you can practise anywhere in the world, particularly in commonwealth countries.
Currently, only South Africa and Malaysia have reciprocity agreement with RICS. Mr. Oke further noted that the quantity surveying profession in Nigeria has experienced tremendous growth in terms of quality and professional development in the last 41 years when it was formed by old RICS members who then returned to the country after several years of training in the UK.
“It is our firm belief in this chapter that with these years of existence of the profession, time is ripe for this matter to be seriously considered for NIQS. I am glad that the Regional Director is receptive to the proposal and has forwarded a report on this to the World headquarters of RICS in the United kingdom,” he said, adding that the Regional Director claimed they have no record of a formal request for NIQS in the past.
Asked why the chapter is championing the move instead of the national body, Mr. Oke who stated that over 70 per cent of quantity surveyors reside in Lagos, explained the members gave his senate the mandate to improve their career status with a view to making them more marketable.
Answering another question on the falling standard of education in Nigerian tertiary institutions which may mar the reciprocity, Mr. Oke stated that the Institute has taken this into consideration hence it upped the standard of its exams.
Flaunting the advantages of reciprocity, the Lagos NIQS chairman it will ensure” marketability of our professionals with NIQS outside Nigeria, enhance professional status and recognition for our members, increase revenue and earning potentials of members as well as improve career development and job mobility for our members”.
Apart from attending professional seminars during the six-day, the NIQS delegation to Dubai also visited landmark projects in the oil-rich Arab emirate. They include Burj Khalifat the 160-storey building said to be the tallest in the world and Burj-Al Arab, the seven-star hotel on water.
Speaking on sundry issues, Mr. Oke called on the National expedite action on the passage of the procurement bill. Decrying the non-utlisation of professionals in their core-competent areas, Mr. Oke who was with his Deputy, Mr. Tijani Lasisi and other council members posited that Nigeria has recorded a lot of wastage because professionals are either not used or used in areas where they do not have the professional expertise.