The Nigerian Building & Road Research Institute (NBRRI) recently in Abuja, held her international conference series for 2019 with the theme; Construction Practices in Nigeria: Issues, Prospects & Solutions. BINTA SHAMA reports.
Studieshave shown that countries like China, United States of America and Japan are generally seen as the most advanced countries compared to others today, forgetting that in the 18th century, the US was a massive rural nation. But marked its turning point in the 19th Century, an explosion in its industrial outlook and the advancement in steel.
Developed countries via infrastructure
These countries understood the direct impact of what the construction industry has on the economy of a nation, hence, their approach towards promoting massive constructions in order to keep jobs and sustain them because of policies, regulations and legislations covering standards, health and safety, environment, insurance, etc., that govern the industry.
The construction industry became a main stay of the US economy, through the construction of rail roads, massive buildings, roads, bridges and huge monuments. These are a few that marked a turning point for the US as mentioned earlier and the construction industry has continued to push the US economy further.
The Acting Director General of NBRRI, Prof. Samson Duna appealed to Federal Government to deliberately explore alternative and innovative ways of making, large scale housing stock delivery program that are achievable within a short period.
“The houses should be cost effective, qualitative, healthy when in use and hinged on NDH concepts, which could be considered in housing programmes especially in IDP centres and emergency situation across the country,” he stated.
The NBRII boss said that government should provide a deliberate policy that would promote and adopt the use as well as encourage direct patronage of the institute innovation in building and roads.
He said the patronage should cover designs, materials, construction procedures and the use of institute invested equipment.
Construction industry influencing the average Nigerian
Speaking, the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Bitrus Bako Nabasu said the Federal Government should commit in addressing challenges construction industry.
He said the construction industry was vibrant and characterised by continuous change mainly due to fluctuating dynamics of the economy which influences the socio-economic, physical and psychological needs of average Nigerian.
” The industry though fast growing is faced with lot of challenges and it is yet to attain the desired optional levels In spite of efforts and funds committed to it.
“The theme this year is apt as it will address critical issues and challenges in the industry and proffer solutions that will enhance performance relevance, innovativeness and drive a robust environment to fast track socio economic development in the country,”Nabasu said.
He said the conference would ultimately help in addressing some of the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) specifically goal number nine which addresses the issue of infrastructure and innovation.
Nabasu however urged the institute to rest on its oars but strive harder towards addressing other critics issues that are begging for solutions in the built environment of the economy.
More support needed for the sector
The Chairman Governing Council of NBRRI, Mr Williams Wadni said there would be definite and implementable resolution at the end of the conference which would ensure the aim and objective is achieved.
He said the institute needs more support to reposition its staff strength by being permitted to employ more research officers to the various departments of building, road and engineering materials
Wadni however called on government through the ministry to continue to provide adequate funding to the institute inorder for research and development to strive which in turn add to the growth and development.
“I would also like to call on the state government as well as NGOs and individuals that are stakeholders to party with the institute interms of achieving affordable housing and durable roads.
Speaking earlier, a member representing Mangu Bokkos Federal Constituency of Plateau state Hon. Solomon Bulus Maren has described Nigerian roads needing more attention and been given a stipulated dates of expiry.
“In the last 3years, we have been constructing, and reconstructing without having a long-term infrastructure in place but rather wasting money and running into billions of naira. We should have an expiry period for our roads so we can be able to manage whatever resources we have.”
He further said that, stakeholders at the conference should deliberate judiciously on the issues and challenges faced in this sector reaching a long-term solution to make a headway. Adding that, “infrastructure is the bedrock of every developing society, therefore federal government needs to pay more attention on Nigeria’s infrastructural issues.”
According to the President, Council for the Regulation of Egineering in Nigeria (COREN) Egnr. Ali Alimasuya Rabiu lauded the Institute for the progress made so far but that the system is seriously lacking behind comparing with others.
The activities of the sector must be put in check
“Unfortunately, even though we have made progress in our unique experience in the industry, we must admit that our records in terms of standards, law and order, health, safety and environment has been very poor. Our eyebrows must be raised and activities put in check in this regard.
“While, it is interesting to recount the beautiful experiences of other countries, one lesson, we must take away is the fact that they achieved progress because of policies, regulations and legislations covering standards, health and safety, environment, insurance, etc., that govern the industry,” he described categorically.