Nigeria’s construction industry could once again see itself on the right side of the standards debate, if the Safety and Industry Hazards bill is signed into law.
Nigeria. Western African country. Population? 186 million. Each of those souls need places to live, work, access help and be entertained. Enter, Nigeria’s construction industry.
In 2014, analysts forecasted an economic growth for the country of between 5.5 and 6 percent from 2015 through to 2017. In the second quarter of this year, however, that figure evaporated and Nigeria nosedived into recession. Still, the construction industry persists, which is why Nigeria has a big problem on its hands.
In fact, the problem of safety in the industry is so large, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has pleaded with President Muhammed Buhari to sign the Safety and Industrial Hazard bill into law as a matter of urgency.
The NSE claims that over 80 percent of the country’s industry operates below safety requirements. They said the safety law is needed to strengthen the industries’ operational capabilities.
The bill sat before President Goodluck Jonathan four years ago, in 2012. According to LEX Africa partner in Nigeria, GIWA OSAGIE & CO, there is good reason to believe President Buhari will see it becoming law. If this is done, a new standard for the construction industry will follow the Factory Act of 2004.
Says Giwa-Osagie, “It will ensure that construction companies that are presently operating below the industry safety standards, work in line with the new safety guidelines as dictated by the new law and [this will] strengthen the industry’s operational capabilities.”
One method of achieving a safer industry is to impose “stricter penalties for defaulters” which will also “serve as a deterrence to erring construction companies in the industry.” Another, is to investigate the supply chain to understand why unsafe buildings are erected, at the peril of the lives occupying those newly constructed spaces.
LEX Africa Nigerian member is Giwa-Osagie & Company