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Construction Industry in Critical Need of Reforms — Onashile

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Construction Industry
  • Construction Industry in Critical Need of Reforms — Onashile

The construction industry is in a critical situation and requires urgent reforms to make it function optimally and more profitably, the President, Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mr Obafemi Onashile, has said.

Onashile said after agriculture, construction was the next biggest employer of labour, engaging at least five per cent of the workforce and about two per cent of the nation’s population, with its products serving as the backbone of economic growth.

He, however, stated that the industry had been severely challenged in recent times, reducing its contribution to nation building and economic growth.

He said, “Construction is a very diverse industry that includes activities ranging from mining, quarrying and forestry to the construction of buildings and infrastructure, the manufacturing and supply of products as well as maintenance, operation and disposal.

“The industry services three main sectors of commercial and social; residential; and infrastructure. Construction activities are high-cost, high-risk, long-term activities and best used to control the economy. Its performance is a good indicator of the health of the economy. But the situation of the industry has been critical. We are clamouring for changes and reforms.”

According to Onashile, as important and strategic as the industry is, it is fraught with various ills and inefficiencies, including lack of cohesion; lack of progressive direction as it works at cross-purposes; too many abandoned projects; domination by one or two disciplines; as well as rigid and reluctant to innovate stakeholders.

Others problems are urbanisation, which comes with housing deficiency; degradation of urban environment and over-stretched infrastructure; high construction costs; lack of jobs, because the government is not building enough infrastructure; non-payment of contractors and consultants; limited availability of skilled labour; and lack of recognised and friendly skills acquisition and training programmes, among others.

He said there had also been gradual but persistent lowering of quality of construction materials, high rate of injuries and deaths on construction sites, and lack of consensual industry crafted policies and roadmaps for industry growth.

“All these manifest in corruption, lack of progress, discouragement, mobility of brilliant minds to other sectors and countries, and non-development of the nation,” Onashile added.

He stated that the way forward would be for the government to work with professionals in the built environment to create a roadmap for growth.

He also called for the urgent formation of the Construction Industry Development Board or Construction Industry Development Council as a leadership body of the industry.

The NIQS president noted, “A partnership between the government and the construction industry will get the industry to produce and export, thus consciously improving our Gross Domestic Product. Government should also increase the supply of construction products by being more active in social housing and producing houses for the civil service workers as well as for others in the public service.

“The government should embark on strategic infrastructure development and expansion that will boost the GDP; for instance, the NLNG Train 7 production, seaports development and discharge routes into the hinterland; and adopt modern procurement systems, procedures and processes to run the industry more efficiently; for instance, apart from the traditional procurement system, the adoption of other formal procurement systems such as the design and build systems, construction management systems, project management systems.”

He stated that there should be the urgent formation of the Construction Industry Training Board or Construction Industry Training Council, a body of government and industry collaboration to actively promote and manage technical and vocational training of skills for the industry.

“This may involve subsidised or attractively sponsored training programmes. There should also be urgent creation of purpose-fit juridical systems for the industry and the creation of construction courts in the judiciary systems, with the enactment of laws recognising and promoting faster dispute resolution mechanisms such as adjudication and mediation,” he added.

Onashile said that above all, there should be greater promotion of health and safety in construction to make the industry more attractive.

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

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FG Reopens Osubi Airport Warri for Daylight Operations

The Federal Government on Monday said the Osubi Airport in Warri has been reopened for daylight operations.

The Minister of Aviation, Hadi Siriki, disclosed this in a tweet.

The airport was closed in February 2020 over mismanagement and debt allegation involving aviation service providers and airport management.

However, Oberuakpefe Afe, a lawmaker representing Okpe/Sapeie/vaie federal constituency, recently moved a motion for the Federal Government through the ministry of aviation and relevant authorities to reopen the airport for flight operations.

On Monday, Hadi Siriki said “I have just approved the reopening of Osubi Airport Warri, for daylight operations in VFR conditions, subject to all procedures, practices and protocols, including COVID-19, strictly being observed. There will not be need for local approvals henceforth.

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

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Nigerian Brand, JR Farms Acquires 11% Stake in Rwandan Firm

JR Firms, an agribusiness firm with headquarters in Nigeria, has announced partnership with Sanit Wing Rwanda through the acquisition of 11 per cent stake in the company.

The CEO of the company, Mr Rotimi Olawale, explained in a statement that the partnership was in furtherance of its goals to ensure food security, create decent jobs and raise the next generation of agrarian leaders in Africa.

The stake was acquired through Green Agribusiness Fund, an initiative of JR Farms designed to invest in youth-led agribusinesses across Africa.

Sanit Wing Rwanda is an agro-processing company that processes avocado oil and cosmetics that are natural, quality, affordable, reliable and viable.

The vision of the company is to become the leading producers of best quality avocado and avocado by-products in Africa by creating value across the avocado value chain.

With focus on bringing together over 20,000 professional Avocado farmers on board and planting of three million avocado trees by 2025 through contract farming, the company currently works with One Acre Fund in supply of avocado to its processing facility.

The products of the company which include avocado oil, skin care (SANTAVO), hair cream and soap are being sold locally and exported to regional market in Kenya.

With the new partnership with JR Farms- the products of the company will enjoy more access to markets focusing on Africa and the European Union by leveraging on partnerships and trade windows available.

Aside funding, the partnership comes with project support in areas of market exposure, capacity building, exposure and other thematic support to grow the business over the next four years.

JR Farms has agribusiness operations in Nigeria, Rwanda, United States and Zambia respectively.

In Nigeria, the company deals in cassava value chain processing cassava to national staple “garri” which is consumed by over 80 million Nigerians on daily basis, while in Rwanda, it works in the coffee value chain with over 4,000 coffee farmers spread across the East Central African country.

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

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Shut Down Depots Selling Petrol Above Approved Price – Marketers

The Federal Government should close down depots that are selling petrol above the approved price, oil marketers said on Thursday.

National President, Independent Petroleum Marketers Association of Nigeria, Sanusi Fari, said the sale of petrol above government approved price by depot owners would soon lead to a hike in the commodity’s pump price.

Fari told journalists in Abuja that the government through its agencies such as the Department of State Services and the Department of Petroleum Resources should curb the development to avoid crisis in the downstream oil sector.

He said some private depot owners were selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers, way above the government stipulated price of N148 per litre.

Fari said, “Our challenge is the inconsistency in the pricing of petrol. Up till a week ago, government was still insisting that the February price for petrol remained unchanged.

“And most of the private depot owners are selling above the government stipulated price. As at today ( February 25, 2021) private depot owners are selling at N165 per litre to independent marketers.”

He added, “In the last six years, only NNPC imports refined products into this country and these tank farms buy their products from NNPC under a controlled price.

“This has affected our businesses seriously because government is insisting that we sell at the rate of N165, which is not going to work.”

The IPMAN president said filling station owners buy the product at N165 per litre from the private depots and incur other expenses such as transportation, rent, etc.

“So government cannot expect us to sell less than what we buy,” he said.

Fari added, “This is why we are calling on government and agencies that are saddled with the responsibility to control petrol pricing to urgently clamp down on depots that are selling above the stipulated price.”

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, the country’s sole importer of patrol, recently stated that it never hiked the cost of petrol to depots.

It also enjoined the depot owners to sell the product at the approved rate and called on the DPR to enforce the stipulated price across the depots.

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