Following the signing of the Executive Order No. 5 by President Muhammadu Buhari, which is expected to ensure contracts are awarded to local companies in line with the Public Procurement Act, the Ministry of Science and Technology has said foreign companies and individuals will now have to be accredited by Nigerian regulatory bodies before they can operate in the country.
Speaking at a press conference in Lagos yesterday, the minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu explained that while efforts will be intensified to train Nigerians in skills that would be required, “no expatriate quote will be granted unless such skills are completely unavailable.”
Also, the minister said in some special cases, foreign experts will be admitted into Nigeria under a special Immigration classification so as to share knowledge with Nigerians. “Goods that are consumed in very large quantities will have to be manufactured locally, in the shortest possible time. Designs for all contracts, programs and projects will be in English language before such contracts are signed. The software for mapping solid minerals in Nigeria must be in English language.”
He said the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology shall establish centers for acquisition of technology in the six geopolitical zones of the country. According to him, this will be used for the promotion of technology utilisation, strengthening of technology management capability and information system.
President Buhari had recently signed the Executive Order No. 5 which is targeted at promoting patriotism, love of country and economic nationalism as potent tools for a new social engineering of the country.
The Buhari administration expects that in the next 10-20 years, Nigerian companies and firms will be competing with the very best in other parts of the world for projects and contracts in international tenders. The Executive Order No. 5 is made up of 18 sections covering various headings: Preferences; Accreditation; Contract Award; Language of Contract; Capacity Development; Disqualification from Contract Award; Database of Experts in Nigeria; Expatriate Quota; Local Material; Tax Incentives; Punishment for violation of Executive Order; Presidential Monitoring and Evaluation Council; Member of the Council; Review of Order; Miscellaneous; Application; Definitions of Terms; Effective Date of the Order.
The Executive Order enjoins procuring entities to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms when awarding contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act, 2007. Hence, Nigerian companies and indigenous firms have the opportunity more than ever before to participate in national development through the award of contracts and also to serve as consultants. The age of a firm will not be important, so long as it is legally registered and possesses requisite qualification, competence and experience in the management and execution of such contracts.
Commenting on the Executive Order, Onu said it “will certainly trigger a silent revolution in how we think as a people and how we regard science and technology as the missing link in our quest to become a truly great nation. I believe that this is a major achievement for our nation.
“What it means is that there is now a significant change in the mental attitude that we have towards science and technology. People now recognise the central role of science and technology in the economic development of our country. The development will create wealth, reduce poverty and provide employment for the youths.
“Never again will Nigeria continue to import from other countries, many of her needs. Never again will Nigeria continue to employ foreign experts, to do work that Nigerians can do. Never again will Nigeria continue to use foreign companies and firms to execute important projects, without having Nigerians to understudy them.”
“Never again will Nigeria not be able to feed herself. Never again will Nigeria continue to export crude oil and import refined petroleum products. Never again will Nigeria continue to export wood, only to import toothpicks. Never again will Nigeria with cash in her hands, look for essential equipment for her military, yet not having a single country willing to sell.”
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