The need for deliberate policymaking and construction industry collaboration

The just-concluded West Africa Property Investment Summit (WAPI), put together by API Events, brought together decision-makers and leaders within the property and real estate space to explore the theme “Property Markets Redefined.” The 7th edition of the summit was a two-day combined physical and virtual affair held between the 23rd and 24th of November.

Speaking at the summit on a panel tagged “CONSTRUCTION DYNAMICS: Challenges and opportunities of building in a (post) COVID world” Managing Director of Dutum Company LtdTemitope Runsewe called attention to the need to resolve challenges plaguing the Nigerian construction sector through focused policymaking and increased industry collaboration.

He said that for the sector to live up to its potential as a major growth driver and GDP contributor, fundamental policy changes to support indigenous construction companies must be implemented by the Federal Government. This would help indigenous players in the construction sector improve capacity to deliver projects and create an enabling environment for Nigerian players in the sector to compete favorably and stop capital flight, in his view.

Explaining the nature of support, Mr. Runsewe said “It is important that indigenous construction service providers like Dutum Construction receive the support of the government so that we can grow. That support should give us opportunities and funds that can make us compete because if we are not able to compete with the foreign companies, how do we grow?”

He urged the government to be deliberate in creating policies for the construction sector, saying implementation and enforcement of policies constitute major challenges impeding the growth of the sector. According to him, unlocking the construction sector would have a ripple effect on GDP.

“When you give a local construction company a new project, the money stays here, for the most part, gets recycled and results in GDP growth. But when you continue to give the biggest projects to the foreign companies, they do their bit and take the rest of the money out, so we are having capital flight,” he said.

Also, on the panel and speaking on the role of policymaking, Jumoke Adenowo, Principal Partner at AD Consulting, said there has to be incentives to protect the various players in the construction ecosystem. “We need to begin to look at policy solutions from a holistic perspective if we are to see any impact,” she said.

Other speakers on the panel were Jamila Faniyi, Managing Director, M&E Kaiser Limited, and Shola Bello, Acting Managing Director, Landwey Investment Limited. The panel was moderated by Bruce A. Haswell, Regional Director West Africa Region, Turner & Townsend.

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