Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Indigenous engineers will no longer allow governments in the country to expend exorbitant sums of money on contracts awarded to foreign engineering companies, the President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Adekunle Mokuolu, has said.
According to him, engineers in the country would leverage the Presidential Executive Order 5, which President Muhammadu Buhari recently introduced to get more contracts from the government.
Mokuolu said this recently at the conferment of fellowship to some members of the NSE in Abuja.
He pointed out that the executive order which sought to prioritise the use of locally sourced resources in the execution of infrastructural projects in Nigeria was well-intentioned.
He thus asked engineers in the country to make the most of it.
According to him, local engineers would identify and go after existing opportunities in the country.
He said it was through this way they would be able to ensure the presidential order was implemented in the country.
He also stated that engineers in the country would not discriminate against their foreign counterparts, but would take the lead in implementing projects in the country, adding that they would henceforth discourage government’s award and payment of contracts to foreign companies.
“It is high time we stopped deceiving ourselves in this country. We do not have an economy that benefits and sustains all Nigerians; Nigeria’s economy sustains only a few Nigerians, especially those in the corridors of power, in collaboration with foreign contractors,” said Mokuolu.
He further stated: “Our economy is dependent on export of our natural resources, and the prices and processes of extraction of these resources are not wholly determined by Nigerians.
“Also, the process of our appropriation is so lopsided that it tilts more towards supporting recurrent expenditure and the expense of funding for capital projects and development of common engineering infrastructure.”
Mokuolu, explained that while this was not helping indigenous engineers, the enactment of the presidential order would however ensure that going forward, they would be considered priority in government’s award of contracts for infrastructure development.
“I encourage Nigerian engineers and indeed all Nigerian professionals to take advantage of the opportunities thrown up and support the implementation of the directives of the Executive Order 5.
“We must all rally round ourselves and ensure that Nigerian content gets priority consideration in all projects.
“We are not saying that foreign professionals are not welcome in our country, but they must demonstrate that they truly love Nigeria by investing in establishment of industries in Nigeria, in active partnership with indigenous engineers as leads.
“That way, we will not only be ensuring the domestication of global codes and standards, we will be discouraging frittering our commonwealth in payment for government contracts which are awarded to foreign nationals. And, that is the only way to guarantee sustainability and growth for such industries,” he noted.