President Muhammadu Buhari recently signed an Executive Order that will, among other objectives, protect jobs and revenues created from Nigeria’s economy for Nigerians. MBAKAAN KWEN writes on the gains.
The Presidential Executive Order No. 5 recently signed by President Muhammadu Buhari is focused on injecting local content in the planning and execution of project promotions in contracts and science engineering and technology in 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, including Preferences, Accreditation, Contract Award, Language of Contract and Capacity Development.
Others are 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 and Effective Date of the Order.
Permanent secretary in the Ministry of Science and Technology, Mr Bitrus Bako Nabasu, while speaking in Lagos early this week at the unveiling of the Executive Order No. 5, said it enjoins procuring entities to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms when awarding contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act, 2007. He noted that to this effect, 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, the perm sec added, 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.
Indeed, with the Executive Order No 5, the federal government will henceforth place premium on the use of indigenous professionals and firms in the design and execution of projects involving national security. Foreign experts will only be engaged on condition that such expertise is not available in Nigeria. Even when they are engaged, Nigerian professionals would be attached to understudy them. Also, all ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) are to take steps to encourage indigenous professionals in the Diaspora to return home and use their expertise to develop Nigeria.
Commenting on the development, Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, noted that the Executive Order, “will 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.
“What it means is that there is now a significant change in the mental attitude that we have towards science and technology. People now recognize the central role of science and technology in the economic development of our country”, he added.
Stating that the new development will create wealth, reduce poverty and provide employment for the youths, Onu said, “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”.
The minister told stakeholders cutting across the media and the business community that the present Economic Development Plan, the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) 2017-2020, has recognised that Science and Technology will drive productivity and economic activity in all sectors. He stated that for the first time, science, technology and innovation has been recognized as occupying the central place for all economic activities in all sectors in the country.
Onu said, “It is important to stress that the present administration is determined to create an enabling environment, to mobilize local investment and attract more foreign direct investment into the country and at the same time empower Nigerians, both young and old, to participate actively in the management of the economy.
“The present administration has recognized the use of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as well as the effective participation of our young people, professionals, and indigenous contractors and consultants as indispensible, if our dear country, Nigeria, is to become a truly great nation”.
With the implementation of the order to commence soon, he hinted that the Ministry of Science and Technology will be establishing centers for acquisition of technology in the six geopolitical zones of the country. This will be used for the promotion of technology utilization, strengthening of technology management capability and information system.
Onu while noting that 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.” He noted that henceforth, foreign companies and individuals will now have to be accredited by Nigerian regulatory bodies before they can operate in the country.
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 explained.
With the implementation of the order, goods that are consumed in very large quantities will have to be manufactured locally, in the shortest possible time. Also 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.
The Federal Executive Order No. 5 which may be reviewed every five years by the Federal Executive Council, will have a Presidential Monitoring Evaluation Council with the President as the Chairman overseeing the general implementation of the Executive Order.
Onu said the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, which will host the secretariat, would do its utmost to ensure that both the letter and spirit of the Executive Order No. 5 are fully implemented. It is important to always remember that implementation of the Executive Order, will create wealth, reduce poverty and provide employment for our teaming youths. Once this Executive Order is fully implemented, Nigeria will never be the same again. The rise of Nigeria to greatness and the happiness of Nigerians will be guaranteed.
An inter-ministerial committee has been established comprising of two representatives from each the concerned ministries and agencies of government with the secretariat of the Presidential Executive Order 5 domiciled at the Ministry of Science and Technology.
The Executive Order, which will be reviewed every five years according to him, will increase the conscience of Nigerians on science, technology and innovation. It will emphasize and inculcate the teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in schools.
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