The head of a professional body of quantity surveyors in Nigeria has called on the new president to clamp down on corruption in major building projects as a way of cutting construction costs.
President of the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria, Husaini A. Dikko urged president-elect General Muhammadu Buhari to reform procurement policies and end the "wild guessing" that characterises construction cost estimation in Africa’s biggest economy.
He said building costs in Nigeria are among the highest in the world, and that construction projects there have become bastions of corruption and conduit pipes for siphoning away public funds.
There is a need to promote ethics in all areas of our national life– Husaini A. Dikko, President of the Quantity Surveyors Registration Board of Nigeria
"This is particularly prominent in roads, bridges and other civil engineering infrastructure projects," Dikko said, according to newspaper Daily Trust.
He added: "Quantity surveyors are always side-lined so that this can thrive. The use of quantity surveyors on such projects will promote value-for-money and efficient allocation and management of our national resources."
Campaigning on promises of tackling corruption, Muhammadu Buhari beat incumbent president Goodluck Jonathan in an historic election on 31 March.Â
Jonathan conceded defeat, becoming the first incumbent president to relinquish power peacefully to an elected opponent.
Quantity surveyors are the accountants of the construction industry, using tested methods to estimate the cost of projects and monitoring cost outflows as projects proceed.
"There should be realistic and professional estimates for capital projects before they are included in the budget to prevent the current practice of wild guessing," said Dikko. "Quantity surveyors are professionally trained to provide professionally realistic estimate of capital projects for budgetary purposes."
He added: "There is a need to promote ethics in all areas of our national life. This will discourage corrupt practices among Nigerians. Ethics among professionals, employers, employees, businessmen, traders and artisans should be an important component of our societal ethics. On our part, we shall ensure the promotion of professional ethics and conduct among registered quantity surveyors."
Photograph: President-elect General Muhammadu Buhari (holding microphones) promised to sweep out corruption in his successful 2015 election campaign (Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung/Wikimedia Commons)