By Kingsley Adegboye
Disturbed by the low ranking of Nigeria’s property sector from the global perspective, stakeholders in the sub-sector of the nation’s economy weekend gathered in Lagos at a two-day FIABCI International Real Estate Consultant, FIREC training aimed at shoring up the sector through increase in direct foreign investment. The training event was organised by International Real Estate Federation FIABCI-Nigeria.
The facilitator of the training, Mr. William Endsley, while speaking to journalists of the need for the training, said the focus of the training was on the property sector of the country because the property sector in Nigeria has great potential to boost the nation’s economy through direct foreign investment.
According to Endsley, a US renowned facilitator, it is not just enough to embark on direct foreign investment, but anybody or country going into it must have risk assessment that is transparent to enable investors decide whether the risk in the direct foreign investment is worth taken or not.
“So, the investors have to look for the risk assessment to enable them go into direct investment in the property sector of Nigeria. For now, may be Nigeria is clean or not so clean. I always talk about clean window. You know in a clean window, people can see what is inside but it does not matter what is inside. If people cannot see inside, definitely they won’t come in. But people will come in if they see inside the window from outside.
“If they see inside the window, no matter the level of the risk, they can mitigate the risk and still invest in the sector. So, if everything is transparent in Nigeria, and the government is ready to encourage investors to come in, no matter the level of risk involved in property transactions in Nigeria, foreign investors will be willing to come and invest in the sector.\
“What I will really like to see at the end of this training is for the government, private sector, and the civil society to come together to make it work because, the government alone, or the private sector alone, or the institutional bodies alone cannot do it. So, it is the duty of everybody to collaborate with one another to make direct foreign investment in Nigeria work.
“However, the partners must understand the system for the collaboration to work, but if some of the collaborators do not know how the system works, there cannot be solution to the problem. So, the solution to the problem depends on the understanding of the system by all the partners.
“But right now, it seems the government is doing its own thing, the private sector is doing its own thing and the civil society is on its own. This means everybody is on his own doing his own thing. This kind of approach cannot bring the desired result to attract direct foreign investment. The only way to attract direct foreign investment into the country is for everybody concerned to understand the system the same way and must be ready to collaborate with one another to bring the desired solution.
The solution cannot come from one party. It does not work with one party, it works with the three partners which we refer to as PPP. And infact, there is the fourth P which is the people. This is because in everything you do, you must carry the people along. The people must be part and parcel of what you want to do.
“So, they must be carried along. Things are working well in the United States of America because people are involved in everything that happens. It is not about government alone or about the private sector alone or about the civil society alone. The people and all the partners are involved in everything that happens in the US that is why the US is making progress in all aspects of its economy”, the facilitator noted.
In his remark, the president of FIABCI-Nigeria, Adeniji Adele, said “The essence of this gathering is to collaborate and change the views or perspective of real estate business in Nigeria. It also has to do with how real estate is practised at international level and globally to ensure that Nigeria is not lacking behind.
“This is because the ranking of Nigeria now, probably in position 104, is too low. So, we needed to be part of this gathering to ensure we move at the international pace and to position the sector in the rightful place from global perspective. Presently, we are at the middle level of the global rankings. This is not good for the country. However, bye and large, the FIREC training has to do with knowledge sharing, collaboration, exchange of ideas and networking. By this training, the way we do things in Nigeria has to change.