Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) has called for strict implementation of Executive Order Number 5 by relevant government agencies and parastatals to deepen the capacity of indigenous engineers and demystify foreign dominance in the engineering sector.
It was stated that the Executive Order 5 issued by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 has the potential to further strengthen the existing Local Content Act and gives priority to indigenous professionals in the science and engineering procurement and practices.
Delivering a lecture, titled, Executive Order No 5: Veritable vehicle for Dismantling Foreign Domination and Boosting Indigenous Capacity in Engineering and Technology, in Ilorin at the weekend, a Chief Inspector of the Council of Registered Engineers in Nigeria (COREN), Mr. Kamil Olalekan described the government policy as a great development, “in this time of widening infrastructural deficit which requires the services of the engineers to reset the trajectory”.
Mr. Olalekan, who said that expatriates must mandatorily have a valid visa from Ministry of Interior in addition to possessing COREN registration at appropriate cadre before they are allowed to partake in engineering practice in Nigeria, said that over the years, foreign domination of the science and technology sector in Nigeria had stemmed the growth of professionals in the multi-sectoral fields of science, technology and engineering.
“Certainly, the Nigerian professionals are not bereft of the skills, expertise and competence to perform far better than their foreign counterparts but the seeming preference for expatriates has not only been counterproductive, it has also led to massive capital flights.
“This is one trend that professionals in the engineering and technology practices have been exploring avenues to change in order to broaden opportunities for young practitioners and at the same time improve the social and economic problems of the country. We have seen jobs meant for indigenous engineers being given to foreigners.
“But we seem to be seeing some relief with the Executive Order 5 issued by President Muhammadu Buhari in 2018 which has the potential to further strengthen the existing Local Content Act aimed at giving priority to indigenous professionals in the science and engineering procurement and practices,” he said.
The COREN Chief Inspector, who commended the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for the step taken in giving effect to Executive Order NO 5, also recognized achievement of the present administration of the Kwara state governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, for passing into law Kwara State Public Procurement Agency (PPA) in September 2020, “which is a variant of the Federal Executive Order.
They are essentially laws to empower indigenous professionals to dominate business undertakings in the Nigerian nation.
“But I must say that it is one thing to have this Executive Order and PPA in place, it is another thing to ensure its religious implementation. We have to seriously walk the talk and monitor the implementation of this Order in Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) in Federal and State Governments.
“Domestication of Executive order No 5 in the Federating States of Nigeria is imperative. It behoves on us, engineering Practitioner to thoroughly study the provisions of the Executive Order and point out infractions in award of contracts across the country especially those with engineering businesses. This is the challenge that confronts us as we go along on this new journey.”
He also said that the Federal Government and State Governments should set up a monitoring mechanism to ensure strict compliance with this directive by the MDAs to achieve the objective of empowering indigenous engineers, boosting Nigerian content in contract procurement, design and execution and at the same time improve the socio-economic development of the country.
“The leadership of the NSE, NATE, NISET, NAEC under the umbrella of COREN should work closely with relevant authorities of government to ensure effective implementation of the Executive Order No 5 and Compliance with PPA Guidelines in all Empowerment Programmes, be it in Contract Award in Consultancy Services, Contracting, Procurement and where such order is being flouted, they should not hesitate to make formal complaints to COREN, if possible leverage on MOU with ICPC to rein in erring members and ensure that any government official or head of any MDA found wanting is appropriately sanctioned. This would serve as a deterrent to others who might want to frustrate the good intention of government by their acts of commission.
“Cooperation with Standard Organisation of Nigeria should be explored to ensure the quality of Engineering materials and Testing of Procedures to International Standards to promote reliability and enduring services
“COREN through its cadres must ensure compliance with a checklist for eligibility for Contract Award under the category of Engineering Consulting Firm, Engineering Contracting firm, Manufacturing or Procurement entity and Engineering Personnel or Practitioner with current Practicing Licence. Otherwise, those entities are regarded as quacks and cannot undertake engineering practice in Nigeria,” he said.