BusinessDay

Challenging macroeconomic environment slowing FM industry growth

Though facilities management (FM) industry has been in Nigeria for some time, it has remained almost a fledgling as a result of unfavourable and challenging macroeconomic environment which deprives practitioners the ability to relate their business to external variables.
Perhaps, more than any other one, this industry has price war problem in the market place because, to a large extent, it is not regulated in Nigeria such that anybody can do whatever he likes, claiming to know what facility management is all about.
Unlike what obtains in other climes where the industry is maturing, here, experts say, it is still evolving and, in the opinion of Tunde Obileye, there is need for legislation, regulation, education, and skill acquisition for industry operators to deepen the practice.
Obileye, a UK-trained lawyer and CEO, Great Heights Property and Facilities Management Limited, believes that there is also need for an understanding of why facilities manage¬ment is required in a built environment, pointing out that “when you look at it from that position, you see that we are just about start¬ing the industry”.
Getting business opportunities that come to the market, according to Femi Akintunde, is a major challenge in the industry and that slows its growth, explaining that the first com¬petitor in the business are the in-house managers who make strong case to property owners on why it is better for them to manage than out-source their job.
Akintunde, the MD/CEO of Alpha Mead Facilities Management and Investment Limited, added that corruption was yet another challenge to getting business opportunities which also slows the growth of the industry.

Read also: ‘We need a structure to sustain today’s gains and growth seen in FM industry’

“For every job you are chasing, people are with this conception that they would share from whatever you are making as profit. If as a company you fall into their trap, you will run into problem, but when they know where you stand, it’s either you get the job or you don’t get it. And if they don’t give it to you, they will give it to someone else who will share the money with them. This gives the receiver reduced capacity to deliver quality services as expected and it is the company which pays that is losing, not the individuals involved”, he said.
He said that funding is also a problem, explaining that many times people, especially the corporates, don’t give facility managers money in advance to do their work, leaving them with the challenge of providing the funds for the business and get paid for it later.
“This leads to borrowing from the banks where inter¬est rate is crazy because you will be paying between 25 percent to 28 percent minus other charges. When you put together all the charges, you will be paying up to 30 percent.”

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