Jun 9, 2017 - Ladies and Gentlemen,
I congratulate Nigeria National Accreditation Service as it represents Nigeria to join the rest of the world today, June 9, to mark the World Accreditation Day.
This year's theme: Accreditation: Delivering Confidence in Construction and Built Environment underscores the importance of quality and standard in the built environment. It is the assurance of quality in our products and services that engenders confidence in the construction industry.
To the extent that we all live and work in one form of building or another, to the extent that we move from one place to another on roads and bridges, construction is a sector where standard cannot be compromised. To compromise standard is to compromise our safety and well-being
However, standard is neither an esoteric concept nor a theoretical idea. Standard means that rules exist. Standard means that there is a benchmark for quality that must be met. Standard means that law and order exist.
Law and order is therefore the pedestal upon which standard is placed. In effect, it is not standard first. It is law and order first. Thus standard is not a 'stand-alone' concept. For there to be standard, there must be law and order. It is the adherence to professional rules of conduct that leads to emergence of standard in the industry.
There is no profession that is not regulated. It is regulation that differentiates professionalism from quackery. It is regulation that distinguishes standard from sub-standard.
Every time there is a failed building, every time a rule of professional conduct is violated, every time a professional is impersonated, it means the rule of standard has been broken.
Every time a building collapses, and every time a bridge or road fails, it is an indictment on our professionalism as planners, as engineers, as architects and as regulators.
Standard as embodiment of rule of law requires internal regulation by the professional body as the regulator of the profession. As you are no doubt aware, medical doctors have the Medical and Dental Practitioners Disciplinary Council. Lawyers have Legal Practitioners Disciplinary Council.
What of the Built Industry? Does our professional disciplinary council exist? If it does exist, does the public know about its operations? Does the public know what standard to expect from the professionals they engage in the built industry? How many of our professionals have been sanctioned for their culpability in building collapse resulting from cases of substandard construction projects?
If they have been sanctioned, what are these sanctions? Have they been suspended, disciplined, or expelled from their professional bodies? Have these sanctions been published in the mass media in order to serve as deterrence to others as well as to inform members of the public that they have protection against professional misconducts.
In a country like ours, the building sector is important for economic development, employment creation and the environment. It is therefore a sector where standard cannot and should not be negotiated.
Having regard to the importance of the sector, it is critical that the public have confidence in the safety, security, and sustainability of construction projects and the built environment.
To engender confidence in the industry, internal professional regulation or certification may not be enough. This is where external validation by an independent third party accreditation agencies like NiNAS becomes important.
Accreditation provides confidence in the industry by creating a system that supports the management of risk, helps drive efficiency, and demonstrates compliance with national regulation.
However, accreditation as a process of quality assurance goes beyond paper certification or brand recognition. Applied to the built industry, accreditation is a formal third party confirmation that professional bodies in the sector which are providing conformity assessment services are technically competent to carry out their specific activities.
It also provides Government and Regulators with reliable evidence that completed projects meet regulatory compliance, and existing buildings continue to be safe to use.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, accreditation is as good as the product it accredits. Accreditation will therefore not be meaningful in a sector where substandard infrastructure, building collapse and poor workmanship, even at the artisanal level are still the order of the day.
Our challenge is to ensure that building standards are met and kept, to ensure that the integrity of the construction sector is not compromised, to ensure that the quality of our construction materials meets international standards, and to ensure that our professionals are not only competent on paper.
This World Accreditation Day is therefore not only about celebrating the Day with speeches, without more. In my view, I think the essence of the Day is the opportunity it provides for us to create awareness of the role accreditation plays in ensuring safety of buildings, roads, and bridges, as well as quality of the materials and the professional skill set in Nigeria.
This is therefore an opportunity for all of us as critical stakeholders to come together to discuss how accreditation could be used to drive professionalism in the built environment in the overall interest of our people.
I am confident that NiNAS working with built industry professional bodies will be able to provide the confidence that the sector needs to ensure that the commonwealth of our people have the confidence in the end product that is generated from our construction industry.
On behalf of the Federal Ministry of Power, Works and Housing I wish NiNAS and all the good people of Nigeria a successful World Accreditation Day.
Thank you very much for your attention.
Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN
Honourable Minister of Power, Works and Housing