Chineme Okafor in Abuja
The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has said it would not take lightly any case of relegating to the background, standard engineering practices and norms, which result to competent results in the federal government’s ongoing restructuring of operations in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
The NSE stated recently in Abuja that in the government’s attempts to reposition the NNPC into a fit-for-purpose national oil company, it must also make credible attempts to ensure that the corporation’s core business of engineering is protected and advanced further.
NSE’s President, Otis Anyaeji told journalists that the society was worried about the position of engineering and science in the ongoing restructuring of the NNPC, and was in this regard calling on the government’s attention to it.
“We are aware that the announced structural changes of NNPC into 30 companies is under review, as the foremost engineering body in this country, we would like to caution that adequate care should be exercised not to send a wrong message that competence in engineering, technology and science is not necessary for enhanced performance of the corporation,” said Anyaeji during a press briefing.
He noted that the reform appears to have taken the shape of subordinating engineers in the corporation to the leadership of other professionals, perhaps because of the pressure for positive commercial performance.
He said: “We understand the immediate pressure for positive commercial performance which often gives rise to quick fixes and constant drive for short-term positive news headlines.”
He however noted that the NSE would like to request that a more strategic approach to the reform be adopted, to encourage the building of institutional capacities and competence of the NNPC as more of an engineering firm.
“As a nation, we must take the bold step by placing the highest emphasis on the proper use of science and engineering professionals and the promotion of its study amongst the youths.
We have observed increased tendency to appoint administrators into various positions instead of engineers with proven business and leadership skills which is the industry best practice,” he stated.
He said, NNPC being an engineering-based corporation needed to have a sole office for an engineer for design approval and process optimatisation.
According to him, the corporation’s disregard for such office translates to perpetual side-lining of Nigerian engineers and the government’s local content development efforts.