QSRBN seeks national construction cost database
To check corruption induced by inflated project costs in the construction industry, the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria (QSRBN) has called for the establishment of a national construction cost database.
The proposed costing templates will be for all categories of construction projects. Such templates should create a cost bands/ ranges for roads, bridges, railways, public buildings, and housing projects as well as show central tendencies, variations and dispersions across geo-political zones, environmental and geological zones.
QSRBN Registrar, Mr. Godson Moneke who made the call at the opening of 2017 national project cost reduction summit in Abuja, lamented that costs of construction projects in Nigeria are rated among the highest in the world, wondering why Nigeria should pay more for construction work and services than countries like the United States, United Kingdom China and other developed nations of the world.
He noted that the board is disturbed not only because the country is being ripped-off as a result of inflated project costs, but is also concerned at the magnitude of the harm being done to the nation’s common wealth. Moneke observed that quantity surveyors are experts in ensuring financial probity and the achievement of value-for-money in the conceptualisation, planning and execution of construction projects.
He said: “Our hearts bleed for Nigeria when we watch with amazement, as monies which could achieve three units of projects achieve only one, while the rest are shamelessly diverted for fraudulent appropriation.”
He observed that the theme of the summit, “Fighting corruption through proper project costing in Nigeria”, is aimed at bringing some sanity into infrastructure construction sector of the economy.
Also speaking, Minister of Power, Works and Housing Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola noted that one of the root causes of high costs of projects in this sector is corruption in the form of deliberate inflation of project costs to satisfy pecuniary interests.
Fashola, who was represented by the ministry’s Director of Building and Infrastructure, Sanni Gidado, regretted that the unwholesome practice has far reaching negative consequences on national development and the economic wellbeing of the citizenry.
According to the minister, the problem of high costs of projects in the construction sector can be tackled through systematic approach of ensuring a regime of proper project costing.
“Within this institutional strengthening, fighting corruption in Nigeria through proper project costings will become more meaningful. The Ministry will continue to collaborate with the QSRBN, the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors (NIQS) and other stakeholders in the construction industry with a view to establishing a reliable cost database that will ensure realistic costing of buildings, roads, bridges and other civil engineering projects across the nation’s geo-political zones” the minister added.
Also speaking the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee on Anti- Corruption, Professor Itsay Sagay, noted that the QSRBN should be commended for conceiving and executing the summit on ‘fighting corruption through proper project-costing in Nigeria’.
Sagay, who was represented by a Professor of Criminology, Femi Odekunle, however, advised QSRBN management to consider, in the pursuit of the objectives of the summit, that the problem is not the capability of QS to do proper costing as they are trained to do so.
He observed that a national cost depository/ construction database may be contentious in view of Nigeria’s heavy reliance on imported materials and vagaries of the forex market.
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