By Eromosele Abiodun
A fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers and Director of Procurement at the Federal Ministry of Health, Dr. Samson Opaluwah has said that a well thought out local content policy will bridge the infrastructural deficit currently being experienced in the country.
Speaking at the recently concluded Nigeriaâ€™s Construction Industry Hall of fame 2017 in Lagos, Opaluwah said local content is a global science which involves the commitment of specialised engineering industry to leverage on the capacity and capability of indigenous country people and businesses in order to support a long term development of the nationâ€™s infrastructural efficiency.
Opaluwah suggested that the template of the Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act Number 2 of 2010 whose jurisdiction covers the industry, need to be adopted for all sectors of the economy pending enactment of a law on Nigeria Content Development to govern the economy.
Already, there is a draft on this before the National Assembly but Opaluwa opined that every passing day is an opportunity lost for the country.
Opaluwah in his paper titled, â€œLocal Content and Economy- building Capacity for Growth: A strategic Approach,â€ noted that it was now imperative to jump start the nationâ€™s national development which according to was subjected several false starts in the past.
He explained that the state of the Nigerian national infrastructure is directly related to the non-committal posture of the foreign contractors whose primary motive for participating in the economy is purely for profit.
Opaluwah, whose public service career took him round five federal ministries as procurement expert, said that the long term or life circle of the projects handled by foreign contractors is not their primary concern
Specifically, he said: Â â€œHence, for a sustainable development agenda, there is no alternative to a dependence on in-country expertise for obvious reason. We need to empower, equip, and support Nigerians to take full charge of the levers of national development.â€
â€œNigeria has witnessed, in the last fifty years, a high volume of capital flight from its petro-dollar earnings due to the inability to put in place and sustain a viable policy of maximizing the value for money derived from developmental expenditure in the public and private sectors of the economy.This has highly retarded economic growth by stunting the desired in-country capacity to service the nationâ€™s developmental needs.