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Builders express concern over invasion of the industry by foreigners

Builders express concern over invasion of the industry by foreigners

The Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Lagos State last week, pledged to renew its efforts towards enthroning standards and safety within the construction industry.

The builders unanimously expressed concerns over the invasion of the industry by foreigners, on one hand, and artisans on the other.
At the 2015 Builders’ Conference gathering, organised by the Nigerian Institute of Builders (NIOB), Lagos Chapter, held at the Sheraton Lagos Hotel, Ikeja last week, NIOB said it was unacceptable that a country of 150 million people, with huge potential in the construction industry to be exporting artisans from neighbouring nations.

But while deliberating on the theme of the event: “Foreign Professionals and Artisans/Craftsmen in Construction Industry: Its Implications on the Nation’s Economy”, divergence views were expressed by the participants. These include legal practitioners, developers and professionals bodies and representatives of artisans/craftsmen.

For instance, the Managing Director, UACN Property, Mr. Hakeem Oguniran, represented by Mr. Yemi Ejidiran, who agreed that it is a thing of concern for foreigners to take over project construction in Nigeria, added that, it could also be of immense benefits to the indigenous professionals, who stand the chance of gaining from the expertise of their foreign counterparts.

According to him, the presence of foreign practitioners is an instrument for cross-fertilization of ideas, a situation that would be of mutual benefits to both parties. “While foreign professionals and practitioners are bringing their resources and technological knowhow, their Nigerian counterparts are in position to relief themselves of financial burdens and technological inadequacies, only that there must be an enabling environment that would not put Nigerians in a disadvantage positions.

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Beyond concern of foreign invasion of the construction industry, issues of building collapse resonated throughout the deliberation.
Mr. Femi Falana, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), while accusing builders of doing little in exterminating quackery from building industry, accused government of chasing shadows, by harassing project owners instead of professionals who handled buildings that collapse.

Falana, while charging the institute to take proactive measures to tackle the menace of quacks, noted that their existence and activities are not only embarrassing to the professional builders, but also a direct assault to the professional integrity of registered practitioners.

On the seeming influx of foreigners that are taking advantage of their connections with people in power, the legal luminary counseled builders and other bodies in the construction industry to emulate lawyers and medical practitioners whose functions cannot be performed unless they are members of the two bodies.

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