Okowa tasks engineers on professionalism, skills upgrade
Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, has tasked Nigerian engineers to exhibit professionalism and constantly update their skills to enable them adapt to rising challenges in practicing their trade.
Okowa, who declared open the 19th International Civil Engineering Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Asaba with the theme: Civil Infrastructure Development: Challenges And Prospects Under Pandemic Situations, said initiatives on development projects had stalled across the country.
He explained that this was because government spending had been severely hampered because a large chunk of available resources were devoted to the fighting against COVID-19 pandemic.
The governor, lamented that Nigeria’s case was exacerbated by the deteriorating value of the Naira, rising inflation and mounting external debt, while national and sub-national governments had been confronted with the dilemma of dwindling revenue amid rising cost of infrastructure development.
He said it was axiomatic that the development of road and physical infrastructure was critical to building a stronger and more resilient economy, pointing out that the major challenge before Nigerians was in making new policy guidelines for projects design, assessment, costing and execution.
Okowa said his administration had embarked on the construction of 799 roads with a combined length of 1,577.8 Kilometres and 908.834 kilometres of drainage channels as of June 30, 2021.
He commended the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) for introducing Engineering Regulations Monitoring (ERM) programme to monitor quality of jobs being executed, while ensuring that qualified Nigerians were not discriminated against in the industry.
President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Babagana Mohammed, who served as chairman of the occasion, said the importance of engineering profession in the physical development of infrastructure could not be overstressed.
Also speaking, former Director-General of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP), Emeka Eze, said infrastructure development entailed planning, organising, coordinating and controlling resources to achieve a particular goal.
He stated that the government’s capacity to deliver on key infrastructure had been greatly hampered by COVID-19 and recommended Public-Private-Partnership in funding key infrastructure at all levels.
On his part, National Chairman of NICE, Dr. Jang Tanko, said the conference was organised to enable civil engineers meet on a yearly basis to identify situations that affected societal needs and to proffer workable solutions.