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Construction industry counts loses amid protests

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Construction industry operatives have expressed concerns over the impact of protests on the sector, which serves as the pillar for the nation’s economy.

Apart from the destruction of properties and infrastructure in Lagos and other cities, experts say, the sector may have lost about N50 billion to the protests.

The Director General, Federation of Construction Industry (FOCI), Mrs. Olubunmi Adekoje, said the country lost billions of naira as a result of the protests.

According to Adekoje, this year has been challenging for the industry players with about four months productivity and lost to health as well as social crisis.

Speaking for the indigenous Construction Contractors, the General Secretary, Association of Indigenous Construction Contractors of Nigeria (AICCON), Otunba Muyiwa Ibeun, predicted a further increase in construction costs.

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Ibeun continued, “if work is further put on hold, you may see a lot of people losing their jobs. We don’t have that basic insurance of lives and property as well as major agreements with the federal ministries that carry force majeure. If an attack is launched, most indigenous firms may explore the angle of force majeure. This would halt many projects and will put government in a lot of debts.”

He admitted that some of their members cannot go to sites or get materials, especially those working in the southwest region.

Ibeun also said the protests have achieved some significant outcomes as they were reawakened on the need to reform the shortcomings in Nigeria’s political governance.

According to him, “we are also in it together, especially with the kind of intimidations and oppression we get from our government which is even more than what you see outside.”

SARS, he said, is now a metaphor to describe so many activities and incompetence of government. We always have our own say in this matter, especially on special conditions given to foreign firms.

“Foreign companies are given more preference than indigenous firms and professionals. When they are hired or given contracts, they’re paid and we scramble for the left overs. Sometimes, there is no proper finance for them, and when there is time to make payments they prioritise all the foreign companies to our detriment,” he said.

He urged the protesters to minimise the destruction of public and private properties, but structure themselves in such a way that their voices can be heard.

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