New govt may throw up fresh valuation jobs for estate surveyors
IF the incoming General Muhammadu Buhari-led administration gives consent to some of the proposals from members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESVs), fresh deals on valuation jobs would in few weeks from now be thrown up.
The valuation deals, it was learnt are tied with the stance of the president-elect, Buhari, on the need for all incoming government appointees to declare their assets.
Encouraged by this posture and to ensure the process follows the right path, NIESVs, as at last week sought to seek audience with Buhari over the matter. But The Guardian, as at the time of filling this report could not confirm whether the institution actually met with the president-elect or not.
For public officers to declare their assets is not a new idea in Nigeria. It is a nomenclature for anybody to occupy any public office. But whether the process that leads to the valuation of those assets declared is right or wrong is another issue. Also, there have been cases of overvalue of some properties, because the experts in that field are not involved in the process.
Speaking the issue last week in an exclusive chat with The Guardian, NIESVs’ First Vice President, Dr. Bolarinwa Patunola-Ajayi confirmed the institution’s position on assets declaration.
“The institution has been working on this for the past few years now, saying that, assets must be declared and well declared. The way we play away the law is not satisfactory to us and we are not happy about it. We have made the efforts and officially wrote the chairman, Public Conduct Bureau, who has promised to do something definite about it. But now with the new government coming in, it is better the platform is prepared so that everybody who vies to take up any position will know the process of assets declaration. Our position has always been and still remains that all assets declaration must be supported by valuation report, as that is the only way to authenticate such declarations. And we are the only group of professionals that the law empowers to do valuation report.”
Patunola-Ajayi, who said even at the moments, efforts were ongoing to engage the president-elect said some of the issues NIESVs intends to discuss with incoming president include assets’ declaration, infrastructure and the need for the government to give more recognition to local professionals above their foreign counterparts.
The institution’s first vice president said if Buhari’s administration involves members of NIESVs in the process of declaring assets, the step would no doubt, would reduce corruption.
But he warned all its members not to betray the public’s trust reposed in them. “In every gathering there are bad eggs. In a case where any professional is found to have compromised ethical codes and conducts that is criminal offence and the law of the land should be applied. Even within our profession, we have a professional committee, which deals with such professional misconduct.”
Like Patunola-Ajayi, former General Secretary, NIESVs, Mr. Azubuike Olaitan Onigwe, said his institution has been working for quite some years now to get the Code of Conduct Bureau to ensure that every valuation done comes with valuation report, done by one of our members before declaring the assets.
He agreed that because the process was not logically followed, there were cases of anticipatory assets declaration. “We have also been insisting that the assets so declared take effects from the date the public officer resumes at his/her office. This is necessary because we have in the past had people who made anticipatory declarations with the hope that when they are in power, they would be able to have the power to acquire properties that will match their declarations. This is misleading and should not continue.
Now, that the President-elect is keen about assets declaration, war against corruption, I believe following due process by allowing the professionals to do their job is a sure way to stem the tide of corruption. To allow people to go with these anticipatory declarations will be tantamount to corruption. This is why we are asking that assets said to be valued with a report from a registered estate surveyors and valuers can not said to have been properly done”, he submitted.
The Vice Chairman, Association of Estate Agents in Nigeria, Mr. Kunle Adedeji said:“The government should go a bit further this time around by ensuring the prospective public holders have a report by an estate surveyor, backing such declaration. Alternatively, the government can, on its own get estate surveyors to do independent checks, on all those assets.”
Vice Chairman, Royal Institute Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Nigeria, Mr. Yinka Omotosho concur with his colleague, adding that elsewhere when it comes to declaring assets, estate surveyors must be involved. According to him, the push is an opening for estate surveyors and valuers to partner with the government value the assets and do a formal report of their findings to the government.
Secretary, RICS Nigeria, Mr. Rogba Orimolade was of the view that, “With this opening, I do know that it is something the institution will leverage on by coming out to inform the government that it is not just enough to say you are declaring an assets, any asset declared comes with a value. It is only right that, those assets declared, are professionally captured by trained and qualified and right professionals who have expertise on valuation job.”