The Guardian Newspaper – 24th February, 2014 – Story by: Emmanuel Badejo
Convinced about the myriad business opportunities embedded in Eko Atlantic City project, members of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV), Lagos State Branch last week told its members to ensure that their role in the ambitious project was not taken over by other professional bodies.
To this end, several charges were given by leaders of the profession of estate surveying to their colleagues, though some fears over the reality and actualization of the project were expressed by a few, notwithstanding.
The business luncheon organized by Lagos NIESV at Eko Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, to sensitize its members on the emerging business and their professional role in the creation and delivery of the new city.
Chairman of the branch, Mr. Stephen Jagun in his welcome address said the volume of the project was large, and estate surveyors had to wake up to their responsibility. “We need to wake up and take our place as the Eko Atlantic City Project emerges Investors are already building. It is only wise as professionals to tap into the wide opportunities for us.”
NIESV President, Mr. Emeka Eleh, said the issue of new cities were very paramount to estate surveying profession all over the world, but incidentally, “because we shy away from the our responsibility, others who do not have professional competency like us are taking over our job”, adding that such like the business luncheon was necessary for estate surveyors to remain relevant in the economy and that “we must be ready partner governments towards realizing this project.”
According to Eleh, many estate surveyors have in the bid for quick returns, been focusing on the agency aspect of the profession, at the detriment of their core practices, saying that in those days estate surveyors were the project managers, and that there need to continuously invest in their business.
The president said, though there is no professional competence members of NIESVs do not possess, yet, there was need for mega firms in order to compete with others. “We also need mega firms that can stand any kind of competition as far our profession is concerned; we also need to grow our business.”
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Chwukuneye Okafor, though expressed delight over the project, but lamented the non, or little involvement of estate surveyors in the project. “We want so many of new cities to come up and I am eager to see the reality of this project. Regrettably, many of the marketers of this project are not members of the profession. We, therefore, need to rise and be involved in the projection of this laudable project. Let us take advantage of the merging opportunities.”
And while considering the effect the new city is likely to have on its neighbourhood, Okafor asked: “Is there any plan by either the government or the developer to upgrade the neighbourhood?”
His concern was however, addressed by the Guest Speaker, Mr. Olayinka Omotosho, who said there was nothing to fear added that the power to be generated within the city would be twice what would be needed and it is planned that some of the power would be sold to the neighborhood.
In his paper, “New Cities and Its Impact on the Real Estate Market- A Focus on the Eko Atlantic City” Omotosho, said the project would positively affect the supply of real estate and thereby boosting the Lagos real estate market.
Omotosho, who is the Portfolio Executive, Corporate Real Estate Services, with Broll Property Services Limited, said new cities present the professionals, such as the real estate practitioners, with the challenge to step up our service delivery in all aspects of the profession. “Our expertise would be heavily relied upon as the developers and investors as well as the government would reply on our advice whether to proceed with the creation of the new cities and their management thereof.”
He said with the Eko Atlantic Project, there would be a greater reliance on real estate professionals as well as some other related professionals to provide advice on the impact of a new city to the local economy. “For feasibility and viability appraisals on real estate projects that incorporate some element of financial modeling, to advice on the prices the local property markets would support for their proposed developments within these cities. Along with strategic marketing schemes through which the different properties would be introduced to prospective tenants and/or buyers.”
And to compete maximally, Omotosho urged estate surveyors to improve on their skills and competence. “It is therefore, time to act. We need to improve on our skills and professional competence, in order to remain relevant in the changing real estate scene, caused by the emergence of new cities.
“With the help of real estate professionals who provide the right guidance, then our real estate markets would expand, our cities would expand, our economies would grow and the positive change would be experienced by all.”