In this interview with Elsie Godwin of Nigeria Real Estate Hub, A registered member of Nigeria Institution of Estate Surveyor and Valuers (NIESV) and a chartered Estate Surveyor, Mr. Samson Agbato attributes the influx of quacks to the profession to the rate of unemployment in Nigeria. He also gives clear details on what it means to be a registered member of NIESV and a member of the board and the way forward for the institution.
“There are two different things, we have the institution, and we have the board. The institution is what we call the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV). The board is what is called, ‘Estate Surveyors and Valuers registration board’ (ESVARBON). You must have been a member of the institution to become a member of the board. When you are a member, you are called an Estate Surveyor but when you are now registered with the board, you are called an Estate Surveyor and Valuer. At that point you can do valuation for all purposes”, he said.
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NREH: So anyone who isn’t registered with the board cannot do valuation?
No, you cannot. You can only become an estate surveyor and valuer if you have passed through the two institution – the membership level and the board level. At the membership level, which is the institution, they regulate membership, they bring in people from probationers, from students into the institution as an associate member. When you become an associate member, it’s a pre-requisite for you to apply for the registration board.
The different between the two is the fact that at the associate level, you are an associate member, but you are not a Valuer. The board is empowered to regulate the practice of a Valuer in Nigeria by Law. And for you to be a valuer, you must apply with them, then you go through interview and screening, thereafter, they confirm you and that is when they give you the seal and stamp. It is the seal and stamp that is the instrument you can use when you do valuation. When you are an associate you have certificate but when you are a registered Estate surveyor and Valuer, you get the seal and the stamp which is a symbol that the valuation you have done is in line with the law.At the membership level, there are four level, you have the student level – when you are a student of Estate management, when you graduate, you become what they call a graduate member or a probationer, as a graduate/probationer member, you go through a process for 2years under a registered Estate surveyor and valuer and after that you can write your synopsis. After approval of your synopsis, you write your project, after the project, you are called for an interview, there after you become an associate member which is the third level.
After 10years of being an associate member, you can apply to be a fellow which is the highest grade of the membership.READ ALSO – “NIESV is not just an institute but an institution” – Femi Atoyebi
NREH: What is NIESV doing to push out the quack from the profession?
That is a tough one because for every profession you have in the world, you have quacks.
NREH: But it seems the quacks are more and increasing daily in the real estate sector in Nigeria.
The reason why they are more is because the rate of unemployment in Nigeria is very high and real estate service is all commerce affair. Even a gate man or a blind man can do real estate agency. So because of the porosity of the profession in terms of regulation, it makes it easy for people to come in and that affects the integrity of the professionals. The only way that can be reduced is by encouraging those quacks to enlist and the faculty of estate agency is working in line with that to reduce the issue of quackery. In doing that, they want to bring in the agents and enlist them so that they can be certified also. We can train them and let them have some basic skills. With that there can be sanity in the market and I think the complaint from the public will reduce. They can’t be totally eliminated but reduced. So we looking at how to bring them in without compromising the standard, integrity and accountability.
NREH: On the housing deficit, any plan coming from the institution and the board to assist both private sector and the government sector create a synergy in solving the problem?
That is ongoing. The issue of housing deficit is a systematic failure. Normally, government in developed world provide infrastructure, which enables people to have access to housing. Through that, there is what they call mortgage which you can use to offset your housing but in Nigeria, we don’t have any mortgage institution presently. Those that we have are commercial banking, the rate of interest is high. So the institution is working with the government in terms of policy formulations to see how the deficit in housing can be reduced in NIGERIA. I know severally, our president and excos have met with the ministers of housing on how they can form a frame work and I also know that Real Estate Developer association (REDAN) members are also members there too. So they are working together in collaboration to reduce the deficit in the housing sector.
NREH: Is anything being done about affordability?
Affordability is function of your income. The issue here is the fact that government suppose to look at the income stratification in Nigeria. You have the low, medium and high income. You cannot provide a housing which is of high income in cost for low income earners. That can never work. And the fact remains that everybody do not necessarily need to buy a house, you can rent and that is when the issue of affordability comes in. If I rent an apartment, I don’t owe and at the end of a period it becomes mine, that is flexibility. Affordability does not mean you should have to pay cash, you can spread your payment through installmental phases and that makes it affordable. The fact remains that government ability to identify income categories and provide what suit them will make housing also affordable.
I have seen government policies in Ogun state, I have seen in Abuja and in Lagos state. They say housing for the masses but it is being bought by the high income earners then rented to the low income earners who were the target audience in the first instance. I think government policies need to be restructured in line with the needs assessment of income categories.
NREH: I guess that’s where rent-to-own comes in?
Yes, it’s a new thing and a new one.NREH: NIESV recently roled out some new plans and programs for their professional exams and to be a member of the institution, what is the drive and what are they planning to achieve with all that?
You raised a question early about quacks, this means that more people are interested in the profession. So if they are interested, lets create a frame work for them to come inside. Lets bring them in so that they too can become professionals. It doesn’t matter your background, whatever you are, as long as you have the basic requirements which is a SSCE then you can start.
Presently, the syllabus has been reviewed. Before we used to have PQ1, PQ2, PQ3 & PPE but now there is another one that has been added to it which is called the foundation. Previously, if you are a SSCE holder or a graduate of another discipline, you start from PQ1 but they have realised the fact that there is a knowledge gap between someone who is a graduate and someone who is an SSCE holder. So because of that, lets provide a foundation for SSCE holders. If you are able to reach some basic requirement, I think 5/6 credits including English, Maths and Economics, then you can do our foundation. The foundation has about 6 courses. If you are able to pass the foundation, then you move on to what they call they PQ1. In your PQ1 you do about 8 courses, from there you move to PQ2 and you do about 7 courses. After that you move to PQ3. If you are a graduate of Estate management from accredited institutions then you start from PQ3.READ ALSO – “Banks are indirectly killing real estate industry in Nigeria” – Showunmi
If you are a graduate of HND but your school was not accredited at your time of graduation, you will be qualified to do PQ2, you will skip foundation and PQ1. However, if it is an accredited institution by NIESV and the board, then you will be exempted from doing foundation, PQ1, PQ2. You do PQ3 and PPE. If you are a graduate of an accredited university, you only do PPE which is just one course.
NREH: How long does it take to transit from foundation to PPE?
Depends on how intelligent you are. With the new structure, you can do the exams twice in a year. Within 2years you can become a professional.
NREH: What is the cost implication?
The cost varies. What you pay for foundation is different from other levels of entry but very affordable.
NREH: Is there a synergy between NIESV and LASRETRAD?
There is, the only challenge there is that you cannot regulate what you don’t have. It would have been better for government to partner with the institution at the national level so that it becomes a policy. So that for you to say you want to become an estate agent, you must belong to an association and that association must certify that you have character and integrity. Because the area i am seeing the government handling it from is more or less for them to make money. It is not really for them to clean the system.
Cleaning the system is for them to ensure that whoever want to practice the profession should belong to an association so you can track who does what, in case of any act of negligence or misappropriation of funds.
NREH: What’s the best medium for anyone who wants to join NIESV to go through?
The institution’s website is not matured enough so it is possible for people to visit the site and not get what they really want. We are trying to come up with system and structures that will upgrade the website in such a way that you don’t need to visit any office to get whatever you need and you can ask queries and get responds. For now we are in Lagos and Abuja. The Lagos office is by the central mosque Alausa, Ikeja.