FCT Minister seeks reduction in project costs

Hudu Yakubu, Abuja

The Nigerian Minister of Federal Capital Territory, Muhammad Musa Bello has appealed to the member of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors to come up with measures that would help reduce the high cost of projects in Nigeria.

The Minister made the call in Abuja when a delegation from the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, led by its President, Mrs. Mercy Torkwase Iyortyer visited him in his office.

Bello noted 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.

He said that the perception of people was that projects in Nigeria are very expensive and overpriced, stressing that those prices do not come from the air, but were 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 and construction ; noting that efforts are on-going to ensure that relevant Procurement Departments are handled by professionals in city.

“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.

Bello added that the FCT Administration was 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.

Sometimes, expertise from your members who are not saddled with the day to day responsibility of office work in a setup 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,” he noted.

Delays

The Minister also explained that efforts were on-going by the administration that would eliminate the delays and the difficulties people went through before they got their approvals for building plans, through the Development Control Department.

He frowned at a situation where documents stay for more than one year without approval, which he described as a big challenge to the 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.

On his part the President of the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors, Mrs. Mercy Torkwase Iyortyer, noted that the minister appointment came at a critical moment which was 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.”

Mrs. Iyortyer also lauded the Minister’s on-going effort in tackling challenges of environmental sanitation, thereby ensuing wholesome and hygienic environment to the residents.

She said that the Nigerian Institute of Quantity Surveyors is a professional body of Quantity Surveyors in Nigeria founded in 1969 and was granted legal recognition and backing by Decree Number 31 of 1986 to train and produce World Class Quantity Surveyors.