Discontinuation of Funding: ANCA Urges Govt to Rethink Decision, Highlights Impact on Architectural Practice
The Association of Nigerian Chartered Architects (ANCA) has urged the Federal Government to rescind the decision of the Presidential Committee on Salaries (PCS) to discontinue budgetary allocation, personnel, overheads and capital expenditures of the Professional Bodies and Councils from the Year 2024 budget.
According to reports, funding would be stopped for at least 30 of the professional bodies and councils by December 2024 whilst budgetary allocations would be stopped for other bodies by December 2026.
In a press statement, ANCA President, Dr Noyor Omatsone stated that” the Association (ANCA) is a not-for-profit organization, set up to advocate and advance the cause of architecture in Nigeria, with the intent of making Nigerian architects more responsive to the challenges of architecture and the built environment in Nigeria and beyond through capacity building, exposure to international best practices and current trends”
Dr Omatsone noted that “the policy decision does not directly affect our operations as an Association. However, it does affect our members, architects in general and ordinary Nigerian citizens who are consumers of architectural practice/services”.
He explained that “whereas the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) is a Federal Government agency, set up by Decree No 10 of 1969; and Act CAP A19, (Registration, etc.,), laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (as amended), to regulate and control the training and practice of the architecture profession in all its ramification for the benefit of architects, all Nigerians and public safety. It is a statutory regulatory agency composed of government appointees, with one person each as representative -in -Council from the States of the Federation including FCT, Abuja and four representatives of the supervising minister.”
According to Dr Omatsone, “the core mandates of regulatory bodies like ARCON are the protection of public interest; regulation and control of professional practices; consumer protection; quality assurance; policy development and management. ”
“In actualizing these, what ARCON does include, but is not limited to the determination of standards of knowledge and skill to be attained by persons seeking to become certified architects permitted to provide architectural services/practice in Nigeria; raise those standards from time to time as circumstances may permit; and maintain a register of same.”
“So, if an architect wishes to renew his practice license, to enable him to continue practising, he applies for it and pays a prescribed processing fee for the issuance and/or renewal of practice license in the like manner that a person pays a prescribed fee to renew a driver’s license. This is not a membership fee because it is compulsory for those who wish to practice architecture in Nigeria.”
Dr Omatsone explained further that “the core function of ARCON is essentially geared towards policing and protecting the Nigerian environment and citizens against unguided practices, quackery, incompetence, loss of lives and properties for the public good.”
“Events have however revealed that, for reasons similar to what has been indicated in the Federal Government Circular of 26th June 2023, the Federal Government has refused and declined to fund the activities and functions of the Architects Registration Council of Nigeria (ARCON) over the past decades.”
In his contribution, ANCA Secretary, Dr Koye Jolaosi elucidates that” ARCON with no membership to self-fund itself in carrying out her functions without budgetary allocation is also expecting the ilk of the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), National Identity Management Commission, National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC) to fund its operation or functions of road safety, issuance and renewal of driver’s license, amongst others”
Dr Jolaoso noted that “The choice of funding model should consider the goals, characteristics, and priorities of the regulatory agency, as well as the regulatory environment in which it operates.”
He stated that “where and when a policing agency is not empowered and logistically strengthened, that sector of the society heads for failure, as it has manifested in the frequency of collapse of buildings during and after construction. ”
In his words “It is apt to note that, Nigeria as a system struggling with uncertainties and instability, a self-funding model at a point of implementation will give rise to undue influences, avoidable compromises and inherent potential conflict of interest that shall be exacerbated by the drive for revenue generation and the struggle for survival against the performance of the core mandates for their establishment. ”
Dr Jolaoso noted that “a properly funded the regulatory body will be more stable with a predictable source of income that will, in turn, allow for the planning of its activities alongside its allocated resources should be the focus, right step and direction to aptly take”
“ANCA, therefore wishes to draw the attention of the Federal Government to the policy that expects a policing agency to fund itself and expect performance.”
“ANCA advises the Federal Government to take a critical look at this defective policy and reverse it, to enable its policing agencies, like ARCON, to be adequately funded for better, effective and efficient performance.”
Both ANCA executives noted that ” where and when a government takes an uninformed decision, it is the ordinary citizens that suffer the consequences.”
Drs Omatsone and Jolaoso appealed to the Fed Govt to reinstate the funding of ANCA in next year’s (2024) budget.