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The construction industry in the Nigeria quest for MDGs accomplishment

2012

INTRODUCTION Studies indicate that there is strong relationship between the construction industry and the attainment of the MDGs (UNDP, 2008; Ofori, 2010). Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are the global development targets set out to be achieved by the year 2015 to all governments of virtually all countries and international and national organizations. However, progress in most of the pledges for the attainment of the MDGs has been slow in most developing countries of the African region and Nigeria in particular. The MDGs report (2009) shows that Nigeria is making headway towards only three of the MDGs: in basic education, HIV prevalence and the global partnership for development. Progress is either slow or static in other areas. Over half (54.4 percent) of the Nigerian populace are living in poverty, up by 25 percent compared to 1990. The role of the construction industry in socio-economic can not be overemphasized. Development goes beyond its share in national output. The World Banks approach to estimating the costs of attaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) is based on two findings from research and experience in development. A number of studies have in Nigeria, like most developing countries, the construction industry plays a dominant role in the economic activities of the country. Construction industry accounts for about 60 percent of the Nations capital investment and 30 percent of the Gross Domestic Product (G.D.P). The role of construction infrastructure in the process of development has gained a new stimulus following the United Nations Millennium Declaration at the Millennium Summit in New York in September, 2000. Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), measured through 21 targets, were devised. According to international development agencies, the services provided by infrastructure have a pervasive effect on the economic and social targets related to the MDGs. The Construction Industry and Millennium Development Goals The importance of the construction industry in the national development cannot be overemphasized, considering the fact that at least 50% of the investments in various development plans is primarily in construction. It is the next employer of labour after agriculture in underdeveloped countries, about 10% of labour force. The output of the industry in Nigeria accounts for over 70% of GDP and therefore is a stimulator of national economy. The construction industry also encapsulates large numbers of specialty trade contractors such as electrical, Plumbing, Heating, and painting. The construction industry is regarded as the main vehicle through which the MDGs can be accomplished (UNDP, 2008). Construction activity has extensive linkage effects, and stimulates activities in other sectors of the economy from which the industry obtains its inputs, such as manufacturing, commerce and financial (banks, insurance companies) and business (lawyers, accountants) services. The industry may be used as a framework to discuss the potential of construction in these regards. Vital inputs for economic activity leading to economic growth and increased incomes in the short run, and national development in the long run are building and construction. Building and construction contribute to economic growth and development, implying that investment in construction has significant multiplier effects.
ADELOWO, Idris T. 1

The construction industry in the Nigeria quest for MDGs accomplishment

2012

Moreover, construction provides employment opportunities in the form of direct employment in the industry and part-time work. The industry can be divided into 3 major types: (1) Building construction done by general contractors (2) Heavy construction also done by general contractor and specialty contractors (3) construction done by specialty trade contractors such as electrician, plumber, etc. In most cases general contractors usually assume responsibility for the entire construction projects and may subcontract aspect that required special skills or equipment. One of the main objectives of construction industry is to provide a substantial sustainable environment. MDGS in the Construction Industry of the Nigerian economy Many countries around the world have taken action to use the construction sector directly to make the MDGs a realistic one, especially MDG1. Engineers Against Poverty (2006) identifies opportunities to improve the delivery of social development objectives by modifying the way in which public infrastructure projects are procured. It suggested that: Project identification should be in line with national, local or sector plans and/or based on public consultation; The whole life cycle of the project should be considered during planning and design, and a maintenance strategy developed; Social objectives should be identified at the planning stage and fed into design; Funds should be set aside in the budget for the realization of social objectives; An appropriate procurement approach to deliver the specified social objectives should be chosen; The bidders social performance and capacity to deliver social obligations should be considered; Contractual obligations must be monitored and enforced through incentives and/or sanctions; and Social performance audits should be conducted with the same rigour as financial audits. Ofori (2010) notes that the ILO (2006) suggests that municipalities should launch investment policies and programmes with the following elements: Employment-intensive infrastructure development for upgrading unplanned settlements and rehabilitating facilities for people affected by disasters and conflicts; Provision of social infrastructure foraccessibility, water, health, education, markets, rehabilitation and preservation of national heritage; Organization and association building, negotiation and contracting capacity building for communities and informal economy operators, and support to SMEs; Provision of support to local governments, community groups and the private sector in propoor procurement and community contracting;
ADELOWO, Idris T. 2

The construction industry in the Nigeria quest for MDGs accomplishment

2012

Review of the local regulatory environment to improve their impact on job creation and the quality of jobs created; and Integrated employment and Environmental impact assessments of urban investment plans. The results support the view that poor infrastructure constrains rural non-farm enterprises. Moreover, there is a negative effect of poor quality infrastructure. Thus, there would be gains from development strategies that improve both the access to and the quality of rural infrastructure. Studies conducted by the World Bank (2007) show that it has been widely accepted by policy makers, actors and researchers that the key to performance in low-cost housing projects in developing countries lies in community participation. In the first project, Akewusola (2008) analyses the housing problems in Lagos state and presents how such problems affect the socio-economy of African countries using Nigeria as a case study. The study was aimed at improving the living conditions and lives of the urban poor. The researcher was trying to show housing as a vehicle to alleviate socio-economic problems in order to address the needs of slum dwellers through slum upgrading. He recommended that there should be coordinated policies and action on employment creation through participatory urban planning, partnership building and working, and slum upgrading. In the second project, Afolabi (2010) examined and presents the results of the study indicating serious water supply and sanitation problems in Akure, the state capital of Ondo state. He discovered that the majority of households depend on other sources of water supply, besides piped sources, and that the lack of adequate sanitation facility and services to cope with the population of the city. The researcher also revealed that a significant part of the city is not served by public water main that is germane to meet the water and sanitation needs of people in the city. It also exposes the fact that government action and policies have not assisted in improving water supply in the city. The implication of the findings of the researcher is that concerted efforts will need to be made to improve water supply and sanitation services in the city to meet MDGs target in 2015. The researcher further disclosed that at present, only about 14.3 percent has access to safe drinking water. In other words, about 86 percent source their water from unsafe sources. Therefore, about 43 percent of the population will need to be supplied with potable drinking water before 2015 to meet MDGs target for the city. In the case of sanitation, about 69 percent lack adequate sanitation. Thus, 35 percent of the population will need to be provided with basic sanitation facilities before 2015. The above analysis of existing urban basic services revealed that majority of residents of the city lack access to safe water supply and basic sanitation facilities. Therefore, the field investigations revealed that the city has been growing without a corresponding expansion in the provision of services and utilities. Most parts of the city are without functional water supply and sanitation, while housing condition is deteriorating in the city. This problem is reflected in all the Nigerian cities in terms of acute shortage of potable drinking water and slum housing problems.
ADELOWO, Idris T. 3

The construction industry in the Nigeria quest for MDGs accomplishment

2012

Infrastructure, services, and amenities were more readily provided to the sites. The donor aided programme fostered a culture of dependency among beneficiaries who played no active role in the development of their own futures, and did not meet its own objectives. CONCLUSION The country faces poor governance, inadequate basic infrastructure services, and a multiplicity of problems that make the achievement of development results particularly challenging (Afolabi, 2009). Researchers in the construction sector have a critical role to play in efforts to attain the MDGs. Researchers and practitioners in the construction sector of our national economy should give priority in their work to how the construction sector can help to realize the MDGs. A strong partnership should also be established among the researchers within the construction sector, the community, government and professionals to pursue the development of strong and efficient project management techniques. There should also be a global partnership among researchers and practitioners to engender the development of the construction sectors in developing countries especially Africa and Nigeria in particular. Reference Alhassan Dahiru and Inuwa Yusuf Mohammed (2012) The Roles of Researchers in the Construction Sector towards Achieving the Millennium Development Goals. Journal of Science and Multidisciplinary Research. Volume 4, June 2012. Ofori, G (2010) Built Environment Research and the Millennium Development Goals. Proceedings, Second West Africa Built Environment Research Conference, Accra, Ghana, July. Okeola, O.G (2012) Construction Engineering, 500l civil engineering lecture note. www.scribd.com United Nations (2000) Resolution Adopted by the General Assembly 55/2 United Nation Millennium Declaration. New York. United Nations (2010) The Millennium Development Goals Report 2009. New York.

ADELOWO, Idris T.