By Kingsley Adegboye & Caleb Ayansina
The merger of three key ministries of Power, Works and Housing into one, is a disservice to the nation.
This view was canvassed by Lagos-based estate surveyors and valuers who also faulted the non-appointment of one of their own as the Minister of Housing in view of the fact that they are best qualified and positioned to man the ministry.
The Chairman of the Lagos State branch of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers NIESV, Mr. Samuel Ukpong who spoke on behalf of the realtors at a together to round off the year, posited that the land professionals are more competent and knowledgeable to be entrusted with the Ministry of Housing than a career politician.
Ukpong who noted that many Nigerians have given kudos to the Federal Government on the ministerial appointments declared: “We want to join in giving kudos but with a caveat. The President has not done very well to merge the ministries together especially the ministry of housing with works and power. It is a disservice to the nation and we want to hold an opinion that it is not proper.
“Thirty (30) years ago when the president was in government, the population of Nigeria was about 90 million. Right now, we are in the region of 170 million, we also have a housing deficit of 17 million which means it is a very serious matter. So, putting the three major sectors of the nation’s economy in the purview of just one person is not right. Nigeria as a country is expanding, responsibilities need to be given to the people. Now another thing that worries us about that appointment is that someone from the built environment was not even appointed.
“So, why are we not putting round pegs in round hole. I cannot remember the last time an estate surveyor was made a minister in this country. but I discovered we have minister of water resources and you know every activity starts on land. Why don’t we have someone from the real estate sector, someone who understands the nitty-gritty of the environment as a minister,” Ukpong asked.
He noted that these fundamental posers are very key if the government really wants to drive the developmental process of the country.
“If you go to international conferences, participants wonder what their Nigerian counterparts are doing. The international financial standard is an accounting standard, it recognises that the inputs of the estate surveyors and valuers must be there. No valuation of asset can be carried out without the valuation done by estate surveyors and valuers . We have accountant general, auditor –general , solicitors general, but we don’t have a Valuer- general, despite their relevance to all sectors of the economy. Our infrastructures are decaying because they are not managed by estate surveyors and valuers. The Federal government has taken us for granted. We are critical in the implementation of issues relating to the built environment. The government should take us seriously. For the government to make impact, it must involve the stakeholders,” he said.
In a related development, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers NIESV, Olorugun James Omeru has called on all estate surveyors and valuers across the country to uphold the tenets of professionalism.
Omeru, who made the called at ceremony in which 342 estate surveyors were inducted into the Associates cadre of the profession, posited that practising the profession within the ambit of law would stand them out among other professions in the country.
The NIESV boss noted that the role of estate surveyors and valuers could not be neglected or substituted in the fight against corruption.
He faulted the decision of the Code of Conduct Bureau CCB which did not utilise the services of estate surveyors and valuers in the declaration of assets by public office holders as required by the law.
According to him, most of the assets declared by the owners were not the actual worth of the properties on ground, because they were not done by the professionals.
Delivering the keynote address, the immediate past President of the institution, Mr. Emeka Eleh tasked the new inductees and other members of the profession to desist from sharp practices that would not safeguard the interest of real estate clients and other corporate organisations.
“This sector of our practice is obviously the one that has mostly put us in bad light in the public domain. While it is known that the practice of agency is open to all as at now, it is also true that it is a sector that can easily set us apart from the quacks if our members will act professionally in their dealings,” he said.