The President of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr Kunle Mokuolu, on Monday that President Muhammadu Buhari’s executive order on local content would drastically reduce capital flight.
Makuolu said in Lagos that the order would boost the capacity of local engineers to contribute their quota to the development of Nigeria.
He, however, urged Buhari to ensure that the order was obeyed to prevent Nigerians from continuously developing other economies and neglecting their own.
The order was signed by the president on Feb. 5 to encourage local content and initiatives in the economic sector.
The order, tagged “Executive Order 5’’, is to improve local content in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components.
The order also prohibits the ministry of interior from giving visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.
It, however, notes that where expertise is lacking, procuring entities will give preference to foreign companies and firms with a demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous development, prior to the award of such contracts.
According to Makuolu, it is wrong for a foreigner to sign a contract with the Nigerian government.
“What is done globally is for government to give the job to citizens and allow them determine whether they have the capacity or not to execute the project.
“Those who doubt the capacity of local engineers is like questioning the capacity of a woman to get pregnant.
“If we are not given the chance to prove our competence in our country, am I going to London, America or Ghana to prove myself?
“I can only prove myself and get experience in this country and the time will come when those people who are not competent will leave.”
He said that corruption was the origin of the practice of giving out jobs to foreigners, hailing Buhari for reversing the trend.
“Have you ever seen a man who would say my children cannot eat so give the food to foreigners who know how to eat?
“When you get your nationals to execute projects, you are only doing yourself a favour because whatever benefits foreigners bring would be wiped out later.
“There is no structural facility that would not need improvement.
“If you get a foreigner to execute projects when you are buoyant, he would not remember your commitment when you are broke, that is why government must engage its nationals and encourage in-house capacity.”
Mokuolu said that the NSE would soon open branches abroad and set up a database for Diaspora engineers in order to create opportunity for exchange of ideas for the development of Nigeria.
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