By Folarin Emmanuel
PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has called on Nigeria engineers to grab the opportunities abound on the count of the Executive No5 noting that it is the only way to successfully challenge the dominance of foreign firms in the Nigerian construction industry.
The Executive Order is one of the series of such economy focused orders rolled out by the present administration. The Order is aimed at planning and executions of projects, and promotion of Nigerian content in contracts, science, engineering and technology.
President Buhari, made the call in Abuja at the 27th Engineering Assembly with the Theme: The Nigerian Built Industry: ‘Building a Sustainable Structure with Allied Professionals’, organized by the Council for the Regulatory of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
The President who was represented by Sulieman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, said with implementation of the Executive Order No5, the Ministry of Interior has now restricted issuing visas to foreigners seeking to take engineering works in the country.
“Coming just as I recently signed the Executive Order No5 which states that the in quote ‘procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigeria Company and firms in the award of contract in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007’.
“The implementations of this Order have started and as expected some of its attended benefits including the promotion of science technology and innovation in several sectors of the economy are beginning to manifest.”
The President, however lamented the absent of infrastructure in most engineering faculties of Nigerian universities to complement the theoretical teaching noting that the practical knowledge has created a wide deficit in the quality of the nation’s engineering product.
He emphasized on the disturbing gap between engineering training in Nigeria and those trained in abroad, urging universities to turn out quality and world great professionals.
Darius Dickson Ishaku, Governor of Taraba state, commended COREN for ensuring that quacks don’t parade themselves as engineers,” I have seen a lot of improvement and lots of change.
The Governor advised Nigerian engineers on the need to improve in construction stressing that they should either come together as individuals or together with others on contracts rather than allowing foreigners take away their contracts.
On his part, Kashim Ali, President of COREN, said the Executive Order indicates that government now believes in the ability of indigenous practitioners.
Ali stated with the executive order, Nigerian Engineering Practitioners must prove competent to be able to execute projects that meet international standards, adding that COREN on its part is strengthening its regulations and monitoring mandates.
He acknowledged Babatunde Fashola the Minister of Power, Works and Housing, for approval of two regulations, which are: The regulation on licensing of engineering firms and regulation on the construction industry, adding that such regulation has brought sanity in the engineering practice among Nigerian Practitioners in national development.