…Says sector most corrupt in Nigeria
By Chris Ochayi
The Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria, QSRBN, has called on the Federal Government to involve professionals at the conception of any project in order to curb frightening height of corruption in the construction sector of the economy.
The President, QSRBN, Alhaji Murtala Aliyu, who made the call regretted that corruption and capping of budgetary allocations were responsible for high number of abandoned projects scattered all over the country.
Alhaji Aliyu particularly revealed that the high magnitude of corruption in the construction sector in Nigeria stands unparalleled compared to any developing nation in Africa.
Aliyu spoke with Vanguard on the sideline of the, recently concluded 2020 Annual Assembly of Registered Quantity Surveyors and induction of newly registered members in Abuja. The theme of the event was “Technology, Innovations, opportunities and challenges for the construction entrepreneur”.
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According to Aliyu, “If you are looking for corruption template of the country, the construction industry substantially takes a larger of areas that are responsible for corruption. And because we are the cost mangers, as quantity surveyors, we need to ensure we conform to rules and regulations on international best practices in construction. And where quantity surveyors are not involved, we are calling on the Federal Government to at least use the appropriate expertise in construction”.
Noting that the amount of money lost to corruption in the sector was substantial, he said, “I cannot give you the exact figures but I know it is substantial. Project costs in Nigeria are usually much higher compared to what obtains in other African countries. So, this calls for concern”.
The former Minister of State for Power, who also indicted government as being responsible for abandoned projects, recalled that, “I will give an example. I was involved in a project in 1990-1991, it was a Dam project. This same project is still going on. It is not completed.
“So, you can see that the government will make small provision annually, and that small provision will not move the project an inch because you are not going to pay the experts on site, equipment on site, you are not going to look at those things.
“It won’t move the project forward and the following year you make another small provision, a situation where somebody will sit somewhere to cap budget for projects is inimical and cannot take the country anywhere”.
Aliyu noted that the construction industry was responsible for most corruption in the country, a situation that causes over 5,000 projects to be abandoned.
While calling on the on government to use its expertise to curb the trend, Aliyu added, “You see that most of the areas where huge amounts of money are spent is on huge infrastructure projects. We call on government to ensure probity and value for money.
“There are contracts signed with conditions and most of the contracts have benchmarks. The current arrangement is that you cannot escalate projects beyond certain percentage. It used to be 15 per cent. But I learnt that it has been reduced even below 15 per cent.