The Group Managing Director, Alpha Mead Limited, Nigeria’s leading total real estate solutions company, Femi Akintunde, an engineer, has described the deplorable state of the nation’s infrastructure as a major reason for the dwindling inflow of Foreign Direct Investment, FDI, into the country.
Akintunde who disclosed this while responding to questions on the Business Morning Show aired on Channels TV recently, described the country’s attitude to maintenance of infrastructure as appalling and disheartening considering the huge investment made in the 70s to construct these public assets.
According to him, the poor state of the nation’s infrastructure across key sectors of the economy such as aviation, healthcare, logistics, transportation and education, naturally heightens the risk factor for investors willing to open up new business opportunities in the country.
“The state of a country’s infrastructure has a direct impact on the economy,” the real estate expert said, explaining that the absence of the requisite infrastructure has continued to hinder the smooth flow of business and commercial activities thereby dampening investors’ confidence in the economy.
He said Nigeria’s infrastructure gap has significantly widened in recent times owing to the poor management of the country’s existing assets, pointing out that a facilities management company such as Alpha Mead can readily support the government to address this through strategic solutions targeted at maximising the life cycle of these assets at optimal costs Painting a vivid picture of the current situation, the Alpha Mead boss argued that the poor state of most public assets such as roads often leaves business owners scrambling for alternative means of transporting goods and services within the country. He noted that the negative effect of this trend ranges from stifling business environment, high operational cost to decreasing employment opportunities and reduced earning capacity for the populace.
Continuing, he noted that the inability of the government to maintain some of the country’s most priced assets such as the National Theatre and Stadium led to their current dilapidated state, losing their relevance in contributing to the economy and social well-being of the populace.
“However, as facility managers, we have been trained to connect people with the space where they live, work and play by ensuring that their real estate assets remain functional, viable and provide them with the necessary support for a pleasurable living experience and smooth flow of business and commercial activities,” he said.
According to him, Alpha Mead currently manages a wide range of real estate assets across every segment of the property market, one of which is the biggest car park in Nigeria, where the company delivers value by effecting global best practices, processes, procedures to ensure optimal utilization and maintenance of the facility.
Responding to questions on the high cost of maintaining infrastructure and public assets, Akintunde emphatically stated that the value a maintained asset offers to its users when consistently maintained clearly outweighs the cost of resuscitating such infrastructure when it is completely worn out.
He further argued that one of the reasons public assets are not effectively managed is because often times the decision makers are not presented with a coherent data on the cost savings and value addition a FM company can deliver on such asset.
To him, the government, business owners and leaders must begin to evaluate facilities management from a value addition perspective rather than expenditure. “Organizations, business entities and government functionaries must begin to appreciate the huge impact of FM on their real estate assets and business support services and not see them as cost centres”, Akintunde stated.