The Federal Government has expressed concern over the corruption in the construction sector, particularly the deliberate inflation of project costs for pecuniary gains.
This, it said, had far reaching negative consequences on national development, noting that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari was determined to stamp out corruption in the sector.
The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, stated this in Abuja at the 2017 National Project Cost Reduction Summit organised by the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria with the theme, ‘Fighting corruption through proper project costing in Nigeria’.
He described the construction sector as one of the most important in any economy on account of its profound effects on other sectors and the overall economy.
The minister, who was represented by the Head of Department, Public Building in the ministry, Sani Gidado, said inflation of project costs was a challenge that must be overcome if the nation was to achieve the desired value for money in infrastructure development.
Fashola stated, “One of the root causes of high costs of projects in this sector is corruption in the deliberate inflation of project costs to satisfy pecuniary interests. This has far reaching negative consequences on national development and the economic well-being of the people.
“It is accordingly for this reason that the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is confronting the vices of corruption and graft in our national life head on. The fight against corruption should be embraced by every Nigerian.”
He argued that high costs of projects in the construction sector could be tackled through systematic project costing regime, which he said would guarantee availability of more funds for the development of infrastructure.
The Registrar, QSRBN, Godson Moneke, said the costs of construction projects in Nigeria were among the highest in the world.
“Why should we pay more for construction works and services than countries like the United States, United Kingdom, China, Japan, Germany, France and other world economic superpowers? It makes Nigeria look unserious and an object of mockery in the eyes of the world,” he noted.
Moneke stated that corruption and lack of patriotism had caused Nigeria to lag behind her peers in all indices of industrial production and human development, noting that the summit was meant to bring some sanity into the construction sector.