Bankole: Smart City Project Would Attract More Investment Opportunities to Lagos State

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KAB Construction Company is one of the construction companies working in the Smart City Project, which was recently flagged off by the Lagos State Governor, Akinwunmi Ambode. The Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Engr. Kehinde Bankole, speaks with Ugo Aliogo about the role the company is playing to ensure the project becomes a success.

What is KAB Construction all about?
KAB Construction as the name implies is actually a construction company which means Kehinde, Alex, Bankole Company. It is into real estate, road construction, designing and building houses, developing small scale houses for individuals and sales of landed property across the country.

What are the projects that you have done so far?
Thename behind KAB construction is old when it comes to construction. We have a smaller company which gave birth to KAB construction which is Dexco Construction. Dexco construction has been involved in the construction of so many gardens in Lagos such as Lekki Gardens, Still Gardens, Opic Estate in Ogun state, and Osun state. In Lagos state, the Iyana-Ipaja Ayobo road was constructed by KAB Construction. Presently, we are into clearing of some acres of land in Lekki-Ibeju area and we are also working on a very massive estate owned by one of the industrialists from Osogbo, Osun state.

Are the acres of land you are clearing in Ibeju-Lekki owned by you?
The plots of land is for sale. It is a project that will be developed into an estate in months to come, but we have just started with the clearing. The name of the estate will be called KAB luxurious estate. Due to the development drive Lagos State Government is bringing to that area, we decided to concentrate on that area. We are already setting up some plots of land.

What are the development efforts that make the place very attractive to you?
When you look at the administration of Governor. Akinwunmi Ambode, you will notice that he is very much interested in the development of the state. He recently flagged off Smart City in Ibeju-Lekki. There are also free trade zone, the Dangote refinery, the airport coming up and other new projects also coming there. The road is being constructed by the state government. Therefore it is important for investors to come and invest.

What motivated you to tow this line of building and construction business?
My background plays a key role. I’m an architect and a civil engineer; I am not in the wrong place. It is what I enjoy doing and find pleasure in. Though I started my career as a banker, but I was not fulfilled as a banker, so I resigned to take up construction. It has been very wonderful. I love designs and constructions.

What is your assessment of the construction industry in Nigeria?
Well, the construction industry in Nigeria is still growing. Most people are still going into construction business. We have quite a bulk of budget going into infrastructure, but we are hopeful that they are developed as expected. There is still much room for development in the construction company in Nigeria. There are some many things to be done, the government needs to come to the aid of contractors and developers. There is a very urgent need to give our state a facelift. Lagos state is still behind when comes to infrastructure. We are hoping to get there.

What are the challenges the sector faces and where do want government to assist?
As a construction company and an engineer, we are faced with a lot of challenges. It is quite unfortunate that the government of the day prefers to give their jobs to foreign engineers with little or no industrial reputation in their country, instead of patronising the indigenous contractors. You cannot develop an indigenous contractor if you don’t give them a chance. It is an area government needs to look into. It is high time government expressed confidence in the indigenous contractors and engineers because they can perform better than the foreign-based engineer.

Most of the foreign-based engineers makes use of our expertise. In real estate, we are faced with lots of challenges such as Land acquisitions. Government needs to come to the aid of developers. Government should create an enabling environment that can help in the areas of acquiring lands and give it to willing developers who are ready to develop in order to give the city a face lift. The cost of acquiring land is high. This is why you see lands are scattered and it is not been developed.

In the Ibeju-Lekki property, what type of development are you looking at?
We have a very beautiful masterpiece for that project which is going to be great. We are also putting up a five star hotel in that area just to accommodate the people coming into the area. The estate will be guided by well-placed Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) camera for security purpose. It is going to be tarred, paved and interlocked. The land will be sold as service plot while the next phase will be developed into a fully detached duplet, semi-detached duplet and a block of luxurious flats. We have well over 600 plots cleared. We have thousands of plots, and clearing is still ongoing.

What are the aspirations of KAB Construction Company?
I see KAB Construction Company dislodging all the companies in Africa the next five years. The company will become one of the leading companies by the grace of God in the next five years.

How is foreign exchange policy of government affecting your business?
It is not just our business. Every sector is affected, most of the equipment we use have to be bought from abroad. It is affecting us in no small means but we will survive. Government can do better, they should try and do what is right.