The ability of Nigeria’s construction industry to significantly contribute to economic growth and development is being constrained by the huge amount of untapped opportunities available in the sector. This was revealed in a webinar themed “Opportunities in construction and engineering industry: a private sector perspective” hosted by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), where captains in the industry outlined numerous untapped opportunities.
Toki Mabogunje, president, LCCI in her address noted that despite the disruptions occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic which affected all sectors locally and globally, the construction sector demonstrated resilience after achieving a growth rate of 2.8 percent and 1.2 percent in the third and fourth quarters of 2020 respectively, according to NBS.
She added that the sector is also instrumental to economic growth as it creates employment opportunities, facilitates infrastructure development and fosters industrialisation, however, the impact is marginal on economic growth due to the numerous untapped opportunities existent in the sector. “There are a lot of opportunities for private sector stakeholders in the area of construction and rehabilitation of residential and commercial structures, for instance, Nigeria has one of the largest housing deficits in the sub-Saharan African region estimated at around 20 million units and this presents massive opportunities for industry players,
However, what is even more important is how industry players can strategically position themselves to take advantage of these opportunities,” Mabogunje said. Olusegun Ladega, Managing Director, Interstate Architect Limited in his address mentioned that Nigeria’s construction industry requires a form of transformation in order for players to fully exploit the abundant opportunities in the sector. “While most other industries have undergone tremendous changes over the last few decades and have reaped the benefits of processes and product innovations, the engineering and construction sector has been hesitant about fully embracing the latest technological opportunities and its labour productivity has stagnated accordingly,” Ladega said.
Highlighting factors that drive activities in the sector he said that Nigeria’s teeming population pegged at over 200 million, the growing urbanisation rate in the country, huge infrastructure deficit among other factors drive the sector’s activities. Ladega said the industry requires a more efficient model that ensures less waste, greater cost certainty, increased capacity, advanced technological adoption, improved funding and enabling policies, adding that the industry is in dire need of investment and collaborations.