The President, Nigerian Institute of Building (NIOB), Mr. Kenneth Nduka, says the poor contribution of the construction industry to the country’s Gross Domestic Product should be blamed on corruption.
Nduka said the industry’s performance in 2018 was poor when compared with the preceding years, despite its potential to create employment.
“There is corruption in virtually every aspect of construction industry in Nigeria, beginning from the contract awarding stage to the implementation and maintenance stages,” he said.
According to the National Bureau of Statistics, in its 2018 third-quarter GDP report, the construction sector grew by 52.67 per cent in nominal terms (year on year) in 2018 third quarter, a hike by 35.98 per cent points compared to the rate of 16.69 per cent recorded in the same quarter of 2017.
The report said there was also an increase of 8.59 per cent points when compared to the rate recorded in the preceding quarter, adding that nominal growth quarter on quarter was recorded as –16.54 per cent.
“Construction contributed 4.20 per cent to nominal GDP in the third quarter of 2018, higher than the 3.13 per cent it contributed a year earlier but lower than the 5.47 per cent contributed in the second quarter of 2018,” the report said.
Nduka noted that the construction industry should do better and be a major contributor to the GDP and national development, but the reverse had been the case in the country.
He said it was disheartening that a lot of contracts were awarded to non-Nigerians, describing it as detrimental to the development of the economy.
He said in an interview that the research had shown only five per cent of construction works done in the country were carried out by Nigerians.
“Unlike what obtains in other climes, where construction sector contributes more than 15 per cent to their economies, the nation’s construction sector could only contribute four per cent to the GDP.
The sad thing is that most of these construction designs are not done by Nigerians. Nigerians are only involved at the lower level of its execution; not even at the management level,’’ he said.
According to Nduka, any contract or construction work executed by foreigners will add little or nothing to the country’s GDP and economic growth.
He noted that the construction industry had huge potential, explaining that if N10bn could be spent in the industry, the multiplier effects would be much on the economy.
“When you talk of investment in the construction sector, it is about to what extent your citizens are involved. Unlike other professions like law and medicine, Nigerians are mere executioners in the construction industry,” he said.
According to him, the Local Content Act, which is being applied in the oil and gas industry, should also be extended to the construction industry.
He stated that there should be deliberate government’s policies and regulations capable of re-positioning the sector for economic growth, and urged government at all levels to curb corruption in the industry by involving Nigerians at the levels of project planning, budgeting, and implementation.
“The governments should complement this with a range of other interventions such as publication of procurement documents, physical auditing, and public-private anti-corruption partnerships, among others,” Nduka said.
Credit: Punch Newspaper