LATE AND NON PAYMENT ISSUES IN THE NIGERIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY-CONTRACTORS’ PERSPECTIVE IN ENUGU STATE

LATE AND NON PAYMENT ISSUES IN THE NIGERIAN CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY-CONTRACTORS’ PERSPECTIVE IN ENUGU STATE

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ABTRACT

The construction industry plays an important role in Nigerian soci-economics development. It is both growth-imitating, and growth-dependent. The industry establishes buildings and infrastructure works required for socio-economic growth. The success of economic development will further lead to increase in disposal incomes, thereby generating demand for additional construction activities.

However, there remains a chronic problem of delayed and non-payment in the payment in the industry affecting the entire project delivery chain.

The Nigerian construction industry operates the outdated and inefficient payment practices which were inherited from our colonial masters.

The security of payment problem is common to many commercial relationships, but the construction industry presents a peculiar problem, because payment terms are on credit, rather than on delivery.

The growing affluence and higher quality expectation of purchasers and consumers spurs developers to stipulate longer defects liability period and higher retention amount.

This study therefore focuses on the causes, effects and reactions of indigenous contractors to late and non-payment issues and to identify ways to mitigate the problem. The research focused on contractual payments from the employer to the contractor.

To facilitate the study, fifty questionnaires received from the filed survey of relevant construction companies were analyzed using mean item score, while two hypotheses were tested using the chi-square.

Findings from the study indicate that the main factors causing for Late and non-payment in the construction industry identified are: Delay in certification, employer’s poor financial management, local culture/attitude, underpayment of the certified amount, and short of current year budget.

The finding show that Late and non-payment create cash flow problem, stress on constructors, high cost of projects abandonment and some reactions to late and non-payment encountered by contractors may have adverse effects on their own business.

The findings show that late and non-payment create cash flow problem, states on constructors, high cost of projects and abandonment and some reactions to late and non-payment encountered by contractors may have adverse effects on their own businesses.

Among the most appropriate solutions to overcome the problem Late and non-payment faced by indigenous contractor’s include; a right to regular period and defined time-frame for payment; a right speedy dispute resolution mechanism, and a right to suspend work.

In the main, the professional bodies, Government and other stake holders should study and amend the existing standard form of contract to provide protection and promote balanced allocation of risks and fair contract to all related parties.

Finally, the findings of the research may assist the relevant parties in addressing the problems associated with late and non-payment in an effective manner, to the benefit of all.

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CHAPTER ONE

1.01 INTRODUCTION

The construction industry is one of the largest industries in Nigeria. It contributes about 2% of the gross domestic product (GDP). It employ’s a workforce of about two million people and engages support services from a wide range of professionals such as architects, engineers, builders, and surveyors.

The industry produces buildings and infrastructure works required for socio-economic development, which contribute to the overall economic growth. The national yearly development plan usually includes the construction sector as its major component. The development of the industry is therefore a critical success factor in the development of the overall national economy.

The most common project procurement method used in commercial construction in Nigeria is the traditional design-bid-build system of contracting. Here, most contracts are awarded to main contractors, who also enter into contracts with subcontractors, suppliers, and ultimately skilled artisans and laborers who are employed by these firms.

However, it is common to find that the problem of the contractor is on the inadequacies of the payment regime in the construction industry.

Many in the industry see and often themselves suffer the effects of payment default and keep moaning about it. Nevertheless, the problem was not a major issue during the good times of the oil boom of 1970’s when jobs were

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plenty and many contractors or even sub-contractors would tolerate late payment.

However, the problem became magnified as the industry is deeply affected by bleak market and falling construction demand. The general legislation and the existing contractual arrangement for project procurement have not prevented the problems.

There is therefore an urgent need to provide new mechanisms that will address the cash flow problems facing contractors in the Nigerian construction industry.

1.02 BACKGROUND OF THE PROBLEM

Payment is said to be the lifeblood of the construction industry. Yet, there remains a chronic problem of Late and non-payment, Lin Chon Fong (2005). The federation of building and civil engineering contractors in Nigeria has been lamenting on this problem as frequently reported in the press. This is a major concern because the quantum of payment for works and services rendered in the industry is large, often in billions of naira.

The industry works and will continue to work provided those works and services are properly paid for. The practice of efficient and timely payment is a major factor that contributes to a project success (CIOB 2004).

A survey of payment performance has shown that the construction industry has developed a late and non-payment culture, John stone, (1999), which in some cases, often leads to disputes. This usually create severe cash flow

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problems especially to contractors, because payment is post-phoned pending the resolution of the dispute.

The common available mechanisms of dispute resolution in the construction industry are presently by way of arbitration and litigation. In practice, these mechanisms leave much to be desired because of their many inadequacies and shortfalls.

The situation is getting worse because:

·  There are only limited security of payment and remedies available to the unpaid contractor in Nigeria pending dispute resolution.

·  There is no common law right of suspension of work by the contractor for non-payment, else the court may find him guilty of repudiating the contract.

·  Even though the standard form of contract (JCT 80 Nigerian edition), contain express provisions for determination of his employment for non-payment, most contractors as a matter of practice are reluctant to go on this route in order to maintain commercial goodwill with employers.

This is the present dilemma of the unpaid Nigerian contractor, as he watches his cash flow and profitability put into jeopardy.

1.03. AIM OF THE STUDY

The aim of the study is to investigate the causes, effects, reac


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