The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has called on the Federal Government to urgently consider the involvement of local engineers in her effort to prosecute the industrial revolution plans of the country.
President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) Engr. Otis Oliver Tabugbo Anyaeji stated this while presenting a paper titled: “Massive Investment in Infrastructure as Key to Economic Diversification” at the Finance Correspondents Association of Nigeria (FICAN) third quarter Forum held in Abuja.
He specifically mentioned that Nigerian engineers be fully involved in projects being handled through the Nigeria-China Bilateral Agreement on revamping Nigeria’s economy as this process would enhance Local Content in Nigeria’s infrastructure development for sustainability.
Engr. Otis Anyaeji posited that the reason for raising these issues ‘derives from the colossal loss resulting from the exclusion of Nigerian engineering firms and other local businesses from the major Infrastructure projects being developed by our government today’.
According to him, these projects include but not limited to airport facilities development nationwide, railways rehabilitation and upgrade both western and eastern narrow gauge lines, new Abuja- Kaduna Standard Gauge Railway Line, which has just been opened, Abuja Light Rail Project and Lagos light rail projects amongst others.
The NSE top brass expressed regret that in expending so much money on infrastructure in this modern age, the national economy did not benefit from enhanced local activities neither did the engineering sector benefit any!
“The fact that the projects are ultimately financed by our National resources (albeit as a loan in the meantime), and that neither the economy nor the technical sector have so far benefitted any, is cause for regret”, he said.
“No one else can be blamed for this than ourselves. The losses are compounded by the fact that we also ignored the aspect of applying global best practice in procurement processes for the projects”, he said.
While still dwelling on the Nigerian-Chinese Bilateral Agreement, the renown cost engineer said that Nigerian Engineering firms and other business concerns should participate in the various practice areas, in either joint venture or as sub-contractors so that opportunities would be deliberately created for the indigenous Nigerian firms to participate throughout the projects life cycle for maximum impact to our economy.
He noted that as a strategy towards attaining at least 50% local content in the first instance, specific incentive should be created to ensure the capacity building of local firms, apart from the fact that Nigerian firms already engaged in manufacturing of products necessary for implementing the projects should be identified for capacity building necessary to the stringent requirement of the candidate projects.He also called on the federal government that expatriate quota should be granted for a defined period only in fields where the qualifications and competency of Nigerian Nationals cannot be ascertained for purposes of capacity development and job creation.
Economic Confidential recalls that when President Muhammadu Buhari spoke at the China-Nigeria business forum in China, he decried the trade disparity between both countries which he said was only in the favour of the Asian country.
He made this statement in view of the fact that business and trade relations between Nigeria and China in the last 10 years had increasingly appreciated, with bilateral trade volumes rising from $2.8 billion in 2005 to $14.9 billion in 2015. Of this figure, Nigeria accounted for 8.3 per cent of the total trade volume between China and Africa and 42 per cent of the total trade volume between China and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) countries in 2015.
He challenged the business communities in both countries to work together to reduce the trade imbalance and also imbibe the spirit of having a mutually beneficial relationship in business transactions.