By Niyi Maraiyesa, Abuja
FCT Minister, Malam Muhammad Musa Bello has appealed to the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors to prevail on its members across the country to put their heads together and come up with measures that would help reduce the high cost of projects in Nigeria.
The Minister made this call when a delegation from the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, led by its President, Mrs Mercy Torkwase Iyortyer paid him a visit in his office at Area 11, Garki I District, Abuja.
Malam Bello said that the huge cost of doing business was detrimental to the image and perception of the country as government was being fleeced of resources it could put to other uses.
According to him, the perception out there was projects in Nigeria are very expensive and overpriced, adding: “These prices do not come from the air, they are written by people who are professionals.”
The Minister decried that there was a lot of corruption in the area of large ticket items like: purchase, construction and said that efforts are ongoing to ensure that relevant Procurement Departments are handled by professionals.
“Everybody have to be very professional and conscious of this enormous responsibility especially making sure that whatever is monetary related, are handled with patriotic zeal by doing what is right.” the Minister reiterated.
He said the FCT Administration is willing to have professional Quantity Surveyors in all its committees that have to do with their jobs to enable the government draw from their expertise.
The Minister said: “Sometimes, expertise from your members who are not saddled with the day to day responsibility of office work in a set-up like the FCTA will be good because some of you are in the public sector; some are in the private sector; some are in the security agencies; some of you are in the educational sector all with different orientation. However, all professional bodies would be considered to at least guide us as to what the regulations are.”
The Minister also said there were ongoing efforts to eliminate the delays and the difficulties that people go through before they get their approvals for building plans, through the Development Control Department.
He thus frowned at cases where documents lie for more than one year without approval, which he described as a big challenge to his Administration and other professionals in the field.
“I have noted the concerns of the general public in respect of the delays and the difficulties that people go through before they get their approvals for building plans, through the Development Control Department.
As an Administration, we want to ease how business is being done in all aspects of government because the more business thrives, the more the private sector thrives; the more your industry will thrive; the more development we get; the more employment is generated and the more government will get revenue through taxation,” he stressed.
Speaking earlier, the President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mrs. Mercy Torkwase Iyortyer congratulated the Minister over his appointment, noting that his appointment has come at this critical moment in the daunting history of our nation, which is indeed a blessing to the entire residents of the FCT.
According to her, “your leadership qualities of integrity, forthrightness, sagacity, transparency and prudency while serving as the Executive Chairman, National Hajj Commission of Nigeria are indeed reference points in public service. The impacts of those noble qualities are already being made manifest in the manner in which you are piloting the affairs of the FCT Administration.
“Your Administration’s determination to provide modern engineering infrastructure in Satellite Towns, including upgrading the existing ones are steps in the right direction. This will go a long way in making life more meaningful to residents of those areas,” she added.