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Regulations and infringements of asset valuation in Nigeria

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Logic follows steps. When Steps are not followed, the process becomes illogical and creates confusion and anarchy. The quest by Nigerian Engineers to continue to attempt to delve into valuation of Plant and Equipment and other asset thereby skipping steps and thus illogical. The definition of who is a valuer, and the process of becoming one are clearly stated by Estate Surveyors and Valuers Registration Board of Nigerian (ESVARBON) established by Decree 24 of 1975 now CAP E13 LFN 2007 which has widened the door for professionals from other fields who are interested in the practice. Why the struggle where the path is clear? The recent back door approach by the signing into law of Gazette No 98 Vol. 105 is very disturbing.

However the setting up of a committee to address the anomalies clearly indicates that there is a perceived challenge with the Gazette. This also calls into question the quality of the legal and public service advice we operate within this country which in my opinion is fraught with a lack of proper consultations before actions are taken on intricate matters. The world acclaimed afrobeat maestro- Fela Anikulapo Kuti in addressing people interfering into what they are not trained said this in his “ SUEGBE & PAKO” album in 1971.

‘Lawyer wen dey talk like doctor na suegbe’ and also ‘tailor wen dey sew like carpenter na suegbe.’ Therefore the Engineers who intend to be estate surveyors valuers should follow the due process otherwise ‘Na Pako and Suegbe’ This is happening in a society where Engineering services are desperately required to address our infrastructure and industrialization challenges. Taking a few courses in public Health Engineering or building services does not make you an engineer conversely taking courses in costing and valuation will not make you a valuer. The profession of Engineering and valuation entails more than what Nigerian engineers are advocating. Let us lead our society into progress and not into a pit. As professionals we must help to grow and profer truth.

Designing or understanding the component of any item does not make you knowledgeable about it’s value, market trends and trading patterns locally, nationally and internationally. The crux of the matter is value in exchange for various purposes that we are dealing with. At this point, it is important that we differentiate between Plant and Equipment Valuation and Engineering Assessment. The former is simply ascertaining value in exchange while the latter is ascertaining the integrity and workability of an asset. From the foregoing, Engineering assessment falls within the purview of engineers whilst Valuation of assets in all its ramifications falls within the domain of Estate Surveyors and Valuers. I think it is alack of understanding that is confusing our engineers and there is the need for dialogue on these issues to end this matter. We might just as well say engineers should also claim to be Business Valuers (BV) an aspect of the valuation profession that requires deep academic grounding and understanding of business studies and valuation, before one could be certified to be a professional in that field. One begins to wonder why this encroachment? A discerning mind’s take on this is that our engineers do not know what time it is and or do not understand their profession. A lack of ingenuity or creativity may also be at play.

To be a professional of any aspect of human endeavor, you are expected to have been imbued with academic and professional training in that aspect and also been empowered by law and governed by the ethics and practice of such professional body. This is clearly encapsulated by the definition that describes a professional as “one with the standards of education and training that prepare members of the profession with the particular knowledge and skills necessary to perform their specific role within that profession”. As valuers we need engineering services inputs in some cases to conclude our valuation but this does not mean that the art and science of valuation is engineering.

Attention must be paid to international valuation standards such as International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS), International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS), International Valuation Standards (IVS) and find out where in any of these standards, engineers are mentioned as Valuers to conduct valuation for any purpose. We are aware that in valuation we require inputs from legal, marketing, Engineering (All aspect), finance and accounting, auctioneering and other fields of endeavour. Collecting of data from professionals in these fields does not mean they are Valuers. Similarly laboratory scientists, pharmacists do not become Medical Doctors for the mere fact that inputs were provided by them in the diagnoses and treatment of an ailment. Why then do we turn logic upside down to convert engineers to become Valuers (and vice versa) without them undergoing the required academic and professional training.

To call yourself a professional of any kind in any part of the world, these basic steps must be followed. It is important at this stage to cite an example of a medical doctor becoming an accountant after going through academic and professional accounting programs; the immediate past Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Okechukwu Enelama is an example. Also in the USA, people with varying academic qualifications are admitted to become Medical doctors but have to go through medical academic and professional training. Therefore Nigeria Engineers are welcome to do same in order to become Valuers. With the current clamour and recognition of the role of entrepreneurs and professionals in the growth of our economy we advise that any member of the public intending to be a valuer should go through the proper process of becoming one i.e acquire academic training, write qualifying exams with the relevant professional body, do tutelage for a required period and be registered with ESVARBON. The process is so simple and engineers are welcome to do that.
Osaji, founding partner, Paul Osaji & Co, an estate surveying and valuation firm, wrote from Lagos.


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