Foreign Artisans Exit Building, Construction Industry in Nigeria

By Bertram Nwannekanma, Happiness Otokhine and Victor Gbonegun

Foreign artisans from neighbouring countries such as Togo, Benin Republic and Ghana are now leaving Nigeria in droves.The Nigeria's building and construction industry has been among the hardest hit as government budget financing for projects, such as building contracts, remains unimplemented and bank financing dries up. The slowdown in construction has necessitated big construction firms to lay off and abandon their foreign workers.

Following the persisting unfavourable policies and a full-blown liquidity crisis that has brought the economy to halt, the heat on the construction and building industry is intensifying.Apart from the effects on construction cost variations on projects that are forcing investors to shift completion dates and increasing vacancy rate in residential property, a significant part of the nation's labour force resides in the building and construction industry.

In fact, Nigeria has been facing significant skills shortage in the building industry, as local artisans have dumped their trade in preference for riding bikes and tricycles. The remaining few are usually accused of poor workmanship and low efficiency.