Naira Depreciation Exacerbates Building Collapse, Says BCPG

Fadekemi Ajakaiye

The National President, Building Collapse Prevention Guild (BCPG), Tpl. Sulaimon Alabi Yusuf, has said that the depreciation of the Naira exacerbates building collapse in the country.

Tpl Yusuf stated this at an event, ‘Walking Towards Zero Building Collapses’, organised by the BCPG Lagos State Chapter’s ‘Sensitisation Walk’, held in Lagos recently. 

“Today, I would bring to our attention what can be called an ‘accelerant’ in the causation of building collapses in the state. “This accelerant is the depreciation of the value of the national currency, the Naira. As at the preparation of this brief address, the Naira had fallen to approximately N1,500 against the Dollar, over 100 percent depreciation in just about 6 months. This means that the cost of building materials will rise astronomically. I’m sure the Quantity Surveyors and Builders present can corroborate.

“The expected rise in the cost of building materials such as cement, fittings and even wages for artisans and professionals in the built environment would eventually have a ripple effect that would see further proliferation of substandard goods – as more builders would seek to cut cost by all means – and an increase in the patronage of quack professionals and untrained artisans. The effects of these emerging menaces may not be felt immediately, but in 3 to 4 years’ time we may begin to see even more building collapses.”

He said, “This sensitization walk is therefore an opportunity to bring this emerging challenge to our attention and is also a call to action. The Ministry of Physical Planning and the Office of Urban Development have strong roles to play. 

“They must double their efforts in ensuring that building standards are kept by all builders and must begin to fund research or operationalize the results of previous research on Local/Traditional Building Materials. It has become necessary to look inwards in order to reduce the effects of a depreciating naira. The Standard Organisation of Nigeria also must take extra care in ensuring that only quality building materials are in the market. We must have a hard-line on this.

“The government must train even more artisans and professionals in the built environment. It is my strong opinion that each Local Government Area must have at least one training school where youths can get trained and become skilled in different areas of the built industry. 

“Also, special scholarships should be provided for students offering courses in the built environment to encourage more of them to participate effectively. The youth must be encouraged to know that they do not need to ‘japa’ or turn to a life of crime to become successful in life.

“Regulatory fees should also be reviewed as government is advised to see the Ministry of Physical Planning and the Office of Urban Development as agencies for regulation and not revenue generation. More people will be encouraged to turn to the government and follow the rules of engagement if they do not find the regulatory agencies financially burdensome. The government is encouraged to turn to proper taxation principles for revenue generation as it is done in more developed nations.

“Please be aware that now more than ever all hands must be on deck to ensure that building collapses in the state becomes non existent and the built industry becomes sustainable.”

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