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Surveyors impact on society, economy fascinating — British Envoy

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Paul Arkwright, has noted that the significant impact surveyors have made on the society and the wider economy is fascinating.

Arkwright, who was guest speaker at an event organized by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Nigeria to mark the 150th anniversary of the institution in Lagos at the weekend, commended the initiatives that were launched to celebrate the anniversary.

The initiatives, tagged ‘cities for our future challenge’ were launched in partnership with the UK National Commission for the Association of Commonwealth Universities.

The ‘pride in the profession’ initiatives showcase the significant and positive impact the surveyors have made to the society. The nominations, Arkwright said, were varied and covered the globe, but two were closer to home. The first was the rehabilitation of Ligali Ayorinde Street by a RICS fellow, Akinola Olawore, which was the first public-private intervention in Nigeria.

‘‘This led to significant economic growth in the neighbourhood with investments of over $600 million and $67million in commercial and residential properties respectively from upgrade of just one kilometre of road”, he said.

The second initiative was the first valuation and identification of infrastructure assets in Lagos by RICS member, Jimmy Omotosho. “This valuation involved surveying 698 roads and bridges that covered a distance of 687km. The project enabled the government to make more informed decisions on future spending, and to be more transparent and accountable in the management of the state assets,’’ Arkwright said.

He announced that RICS was offering an opportunity to win £50,000 by challenging  young professionals, start-ups and students to use surveying, urban design, architecture or engineering  to solve issues such as rapid urbanisation, climate change and resource scarcity, adding that a number of entries from sub-Saharan Africa have made the shortlist of 48.

He also expressed confidence that Nigeria and the UK can strengthen an already deep friendship and boost each other’s prosperity in the coming years. ‘‘2019 is a watershed year for both countries, with events early in the year defining the UK and Nigeria’s direction of travel into the next decade,’’ he said.

Earlier in his opening speech, Yinka Omotosho, chairman, RICS Nigeria, had challenged young chartered surveyors in Nigeria on delivering surveying services with innovation and to international best practices in order to help build the country using its abundant resources to the benefit of succeeding generations of Nigerians.

For more than 140 years, Omotosho recalled,  RICS members had worked to ensure that whilst unlocking the inherent value held within the world’s physical assets and developing its potentials, they don’t spoil the planet for future generations.

‘‘Even in parts of the world where the term ‘chartered surveyors’ mean little, the high standards of its members speak volume,’’ he said. ‘‘They are viewed by major financial institutions and world governments as the ‘gold standards’ when it comes to professional regulations in the property sector”, he added.

According to him, the RICS Nigeria Group has been doing its best to advance the objectives of the institution by conducting assessments under set criteria and organising various continuing professional developments programmes.

‘‘The continuing professional development lecture series has become a regular ritual for the RICS Nigeria Group in fulfillment of the RICS requirement for continuous professional development,’’ he said.

‘‘It also provides a platform for the group to lend a voice to issues of professional and national discuss as it affects built environment, development of property market, the building and construction industry and the economy,’’ he said.

The RICS chairman said wide-ranging programmes of activities are being implemented in the United Kingdom and RICS branches worldwide.

‘‘These activities are designed to celebrate the depth and breadth of the surveying profession, highlight its value to society and recognise its significant contribution to the global economy,’’ he said.

‘‘In 2018, RICS is not only celebrating past achievements, we are working to promote pride in the profession, inclusion and diversity, and to inspire the next generation,’’ he added.

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