Stakeholders and professionals took the opportunity of the 53rd annual conference of Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers ( NIESV) to brainstorm and examined how asset valuation can be effectively used to prevent and fight corruption in Nigeria.
All the speakers at the event that was held in Ilorin, Kwara State – the former Ghana’s President, Dramani Mahama, Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, president of NIESV,Johnbull Amayaevbo, the second vice president of the association, Bature Muhammad and Kwara branch’s chairman, Oyedepo Olalekan, were unanimous in their submissions that asset valuation is key to fighting corruption in Nigeria and other African countries.
The conference had “ Asset Valuation As A Global Anti- corruption Tool : The Nigeria Experience” as its theme.
In a key note address at the opening ceremony of the conference, a former President of Ghana, John Dramani Mahama identified asset declaration by the public officers as a potent tool of tackling corruption in the public sector.
He stated that corruption is a global challenge that hinders economic development, diverts investments from infrastructure, institutions, and social services, and undermines efforts to achieve other country-specific development goals and targets.
Mahama added that:” The international community has embarked on a global anti-corruption fight across several sectors, including real estate.
“Real estate asset and property valuation are a critical factor in asset investment decision-making and a vital tool for the global fight against corruption.
“Considering the enormity of the consequences of perversely attributed values to assets, asset valuation deservedly demands and requires increased attention from critical actors, such as the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers.
“Our fragile financial intermediation systems’ security and growth face the significant risks from poorly done asset valuation. To remain relevant in pursuing economic and social progress and distributive justice and equity, you as professionals must rise to the occasion and create a more responsive regime to aid Africa’s renaissance and growth.You must work to build Africa as a centre of excellence in the asset valuation space.”
In his opening remarks, the president and chairman of Council, Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, Johnbull Amayaevbo said that the theme of the conference ‘Asset Valuation As A Global Anti-Corruption Tool: The Nigeria Experience’ was carefully chosen.
He stated that governments alone cannot succeed in preventing and fighting corruption and corrupt practices without the cooperation and collaborative efforts of the private sector.
He added:” The importance of this year’s conference has to do with its theme:” Asset Valuation As A Global Anti- corruption Tool- The Nigeria Experience.” This theme is particularly relevant as the World continues to confront this phenomenon which distorts policy decisions, weakens economic growth, deters investment, undermines human development, derails a country’s progress, runs counter to the basic interests and needs of the society, poses a frightening threat to economic development and social stability, with Nigeria a perfect example.
“ In other words, if we are sincerely and genuinely desirous of meaningful development, we must do something about corruption. Meanwhile, governments alone cannot succeed in preventing and fighting corruption and corrupt practices without cooperation and collaborative efforts of the private sector, state agencies and critical stakeholders including the professional organisations, particularly the Estate Surveying and Valuation professionals whose roles and services are germane and key to economic development.
“It is my great hope that discussions at this conference will answer this question and informs decisions at the policy making levels, whilst also creating greater synergies between governments, agencies of the state and stakeholders at different levels to effectively advance corruption elimination , and ultimately sustainable economic development.”
In his own presentation, the second vice president of NSIEV, Bature Muhammad said putting in place an effective financial disclosure system will help greatly to tackle corruption in Nigeria and Africa.
He said such development will make detection, investigation and prosecution of corrupt public officials easy.
He noted that absence of an effective disclosure system has made some government officials overtly richer than most people in business and this has made corruption rampant in Africa.
Muhammad said ‘most of Africa’s anti-corruption strategies’ have been proven to be wholly inadequate while noting that importance of an effective financial disclosure system and valuation had been unfortunately downplayed in African countries.
“ Of greater concern is that 20 of the African World Bank client countries do not require public officials to disclose their income and assets. This indifference by African States towards corruption necessitates an investigation of the role of assets declaration in the fight against corruption.
“As a tool against corruption, asset declaration plays a dual function. It also plays a preventive function of helping to anticipate and resolve potential conflicts of interest. Moreover, it plays an investigative function by providing valuable information vital to uncovering gross misconduct and illicit enrichment by public officials.
“ In most cases, assets declaration illustrates irregularities between the actual assets of the public officials and their salaries. Asset declaration can be achieved adequately through valuation techniques. Therefore, valuation as a tool in addressing corruption is the use of economic and financial analysis to assess the value of a project or asset to help identify and prevent corrupt activities.
“This tool can be used to detect irregularities in pricing and bidding processes, identify misappropriation of funds, identify fraudulent activities, and assess the impact of corruption on economic development.
“By using valuation techniques, governments, businesses, and other stakeholders can identify and mitigate the risks associated with corruption and improve their decision-making processes”, he added.
For his part, Kwara State governor, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq who was represented by his deputy, Mr Kayode Alabi, said that the theme of the conference is apt as it keyed into the main focus of the current All Progressives Congress – led administration in fighting corruption which is an endemic problem confronting the nation.
“The theme of this year’s Conference, Asset Valuation as Global Anti-Corruption Tool: The Nigerian Experience, is apt as it keys into the main focus of the current APC led administration to fighting corruption which is an endemic problem confronting our corporate existence as a nation. It is also a testament to the commitment of NIESV as a worthy partner of the Nigerian government in the quest to enthroning a corrupt-free society through active citizen’s participation and engagement.
Estate Surveyors and Valuers, are experts, professionals /consultants helping citizens of a particular country understand what space there is and how it can be best developed in order that all people can live happy and productive lives.
“Specifically, the mode in which land is held, utilized, and managed in any society influences considerably the development of the society. Hence, estate surveying and valuation as a discipline or a profession is concerned with the judicious use and administration of the real estate as well as the value associated with land and all the appurtenances.
“Since its formation about 6 decades ago, members of NIESV have been involved in the valuation of assets for varying purposes across the country. As such, the profession is eminently qualified to stimulate national discourse on the issues involving real estate assets and the consequences for the fight against grafts.
“Determination of the declared values of these assets is the professional responsibility of estate surveyors and valuers. It is pertinent, therefore, that estate surveyors and valuers are key players in the quest to rid Nigeria of corruption.
“As a sub-national government, the Kwara State government under my leadership has zero tolerance for corruption. Hence, our activities in the last four years have been geared towards eliminating wastages and profligacy in governance as well as curtailing corrupt practices within our realities.
“We shall continue to partner with NIESV in the area of asset valuation, including the management of government owned land properties in a bid to fully exploit the full potential of the membership of the profession and enjoy their professional expertise and value-adding capabilities,” the governor added