By Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari yesterday in Abuja assented to Engineers (Registration etc) Amendment Bill, 2019, which among others, bars the National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) from posting graduates of engineering to secondary schools to teach.
The bill which has now become the Act of the National Assembly seeks to promote technological development in Nigeria by ensuring that trained engineers were well positioned to deploy the knowledge acquired in their various fields to the development of technology in the country.
Briefing journalists at the State House, Senior Special Assistant to the President on National Assembly Matters, Senator Ita Enang, said as against the tradition of posting a large number of engineering graduates to schools by NYSC, youth corps members who are graduates of engineering must henceforth be posted only to engineering firms and other institutions that are relevant to their professional fields.
Aside prohibiting such firms from rejecting engineering graduates posted to them, the Act mandates NYSC to immediately communicate the name of any institution where an engineering graduate is posted to, for his/her primary assignment, to the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
Enang cited Section 14 (i and ii) of the Act which provides that “The Directorate of the National Youth Service Corps shall ensure posting of graduate engineers and technologists to places of relevant professional engineering experience.
“Pursuant to the provision of subsection (i), the Directorate of National Youth Service Corps shall communicate the location of graduate engineers and engineering technologists to the Council.’’
Furthermore, the Act prohibits any foreign engineering firm from operating in Nigeria without being duly registered in the country by COREN.
It also mandates such a foreign firm to ensure the introduction of local content into the operations of the company by employing Nigerian engineers.
Enang added: “The Act broadens engineering ‘practitioners to include a registered engineer, engineering technologist, engineering technician and engineering craftsman.’ It emphasises more on engineering practitioners as against ‘engineer.’
“The Act has been remitted in accordance with standard legal procedures. The principal Act establishes the Council for Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria – COREN’ with power vested.
“The amendment now assented to by Mr. President broadens the powers of COREN with far-reaching powers of prosecution of infractions, regulating industrial training of engineers, capacity building of local content in Nigeria engineering industry.
“Specifically, the new law grants COREN powers of: ‘prosecuting any person or firm that contravenes the provisions of this Act in a court of competent jurisdiction; regulating industrial training schemes in engineering practitioners and students; ensuring capacity building and monitoring local content development in the Nigerian engineering industry through – mandatory attachment of Nigerians to expatriate engineers on major projects to understudy them from inception; ensuring that all foreign engineering firms establish their design offices in Nigeria.”
Enang also said the new Act grants “compulsory attestation to all expatriate quota for engineering practitioners, including turnkey project, that there are no qualified and competent Nigerians for the job in question at the time of application and that granting of the expatriate quota shall be contingent on training of such number of persons as may be required for the execution of the job, and; ensuring that, before being allowed to practice in Nigeria, such foreign engineering practitioners granted work permit, register with the council and obtain such licenses as may be required from time to time; investigating engineering failures.’’
He further disclosed that the Act further authorises the admission of some engineering associations into COREN as the umbrella body of all engineers in the country.
Such associations as listed by Enang are: Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering, Nigerian Society of Engineering Technicians, and Nigerian Association of Engineering Craftsmen.
According to him, the Act further authorises one person to represent in COREN, the Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria, Federation of Construction Industry in Nigeria, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, and Armed Forces in rotation.
“The Council is now entitled to maintain a fund into which shall be paid money appropriated by the National Assembly, subventions, fees, charges for services rendered or publications made, donations, engineering development levy, among others,” Enang added.