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Engineers optimistic on local content executive order implementation


Otis Oliver Tabugbo Anyaeji

On the heels of the recent Executive Order by President Mohammadu Buhari, to improve local content in public procurement in science, engineering and technology, experts believe that it would promote innovation and boost sustainable development in all sectors of the economy.

Expectedly, the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), who are the main beneficiaries of the order by the reason of their constant advocacies, described it as a step to the right direction especially for a nation in dire need of development.

According to the immediate past president of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Otis Anyaeji, the executive order is something that should bring joy to the hearts of many Nigerians.

The order, he said, will enhance the engineering profession because it categorically says that Nigeria engineers and other professionals should be given preference in the award of contracts in projects that have science, engineering and information components in them.

“That goes further to say that if it is consultancy that Nigerian firms will be the leader and number of other provisions that support this. Even though the executive order is a bit late, we should thank God that finally, we have woken up”, he noted.

Speaking further, Anyaeji said government has also gone ahead to look at those industries that will be the leading industries in this effort to develop the country and then made provisions that will help in smooth development, particularly firms that manufacture machine tools and other inputs needed for building of houses.

The renowned engineer, who has been in the vanguard of Nigerian content in construction works and other areas of the economy however said there is need to ensure that all the supports are given for the implementation of the executive order.

On the issue of implementation, Anyaeji said from his observation, the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) is monitoring a law not just executive order but a law passed by Parliament.

Also, the chairman of Apapa branch of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Dr. Ombugadu Garba said the order was in line with the expectations of many Nigerians, particularly in engineering.

“You will recalled that we have this issue of local content in oil and gas sector and we have been complaining and clamouring that it should be extended to other areas, which was what Mr. President has done. Garba expressed hope that it will be fully implemented as required”.

According to him, even in oil and gas industry, where it is being implemented, there are still challenges. This, he said, is because the percentage of local content is not being followed as passed in that order in local content.
“We are hoping that all the ministries concerned must implement it to the letter and spirit of that order. Because it is not enough to sign it, they must ensure that it is implemented fully. When you look at science and technology, the issue of engineering procurement, all these will encourage local production. If we ensure that number of things is locally produced, it will encourage local production. It will encourage entrepreneurship and it will dovetail to job creation. I think that it is a very good Idea if it is implemented”.

For the National President of Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers (NSChE), Prof. Sam Adefila, the executive order would challenge Nigerian engineers to come up with more innovative ideas that could help Nigeria to grow and develop.

“Like it has been clamoured for by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, It is essential that Nigeria engineers should be given an opportunity to thrive and the more opportunity you have, the more you progress and so the idea will bring about more advancement and good experience to the nation in the area of engineering capacity, science and technological development. It will definitely bring about employment opportunities for Nigerians”.

Also, a former President of Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers, Mr. Kunle Adebajo said the initiative is the only real way to grow the nations’ expertise and develop particularly in science, technology and engineering related matters.

“It will go a long way in protecting the nations’ professionals from a lot of external domination of the market that has been the case for a while which does no good in the long run. This will help Nigerians to develop their skills and talent because we don’t want to remain at a point”.

“The Nigerian engineers are at par with their colleagues around the world in terms of knowledge, acumen and the expertise but they have to be given the opportunity”, he posited.

He stated that the impact of the order would be broad and general especially in the construction industry where there have been a lot of stagnations in the past.

Adebajo, explained that the order would also provide more employment opportunities for artisans and other professionals, boost individual and national income as well as procurement activities within the country.

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