The minister of power, works and housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola, has revealed that one of the things President Muhammadu Buhari sought to change by approving the Executive Order 5 was the inclusion of Nigerians in the productivity cycle and to enable them get preferential opportunities for jobs that would be created in the country.

He stated this in Abuja at the plenary session of the 2018 extraordinary general meeting of the Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria on ‘MDAs and the Implementation of the Presidential Executive Order 5’.

He recalled that his office received a letter from the office of the president on February 22, 2018, informing him about the approval of an executive order.

Fashola said that he immediately minuted the same directive to the permanent secretaries for power, works and housing, requesting that the presidential order should be integrated into the procurement compliance with BPP.

The minister described Executive Order 5 as a 16-page presidential order and decision taken in pursuit of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), meant to restore economic growth through diversification and macro economic stability.

He stated that Order 5 was also designed to invest in the people through social inclusion and job creation as well as build a globally competitive economy via investment in infrastructure and improvement in business environment.

Fashola noted that one of the enduring objectives of Order 5 was to create jobs locally and stimulate productive activity that facilitates inclusion.

He asserted that almost a decade when Nigeria’s economy experienced a 5-7 per cent gross domestic product (GDP) growth that unemployment figures were high, which compelled people to talk about ‘jobless growth’ and ‘lack of inclusion’.

According to him, “How many were made here? How many jobs could we have created if Order 5 had been passed in 2002 or 2003 to follow the licensing of GSM phones in Nigeria?”

He stated that the benefits and prosperity surrounding the economic policy were some of the compelling reasons why government should be committed in implementing it.

Fashola pointed out that such benefits were inherent in the agriculture sector that created jobs for over six million new farmers, likewise in the ministry where locals were employed at over 250 road construction sites and 34 pilot housing estates projects.

He maintained that the ministry had in 2015, directed that only made in Nigeria paint, doors, fittings and among others should be used at the sites of national housing project.

With the abundant opportunities, the minister stated that only ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) cannot fully optimise the benefits without the active collaboration of the entire private sector and Nigerians.

This he said, was because the focal point of Order 5 was a commitment to made in Nigeria, adding that if Nigerians failed to accept indigenous products, the MDAs were acting in vain.

Fashola hinted that getting made in Nigeria to permeate the lives of Nigerians goes beyond wearing locally made fabric or eating local food, stressing that such sought-after goods must be produced in the country while Nigerians are fully engaged in the production process.

He said, “The MDAs have no choice but to comply with a presidential directive, and not only is this specified in Section 2 to 15 of the order but section 11 on page 11 makes provisions for sanctions for non-compliance.

“It provides that the punishment for violation of this executive order, shall be as stipulated by the public services rules and relevant laws governing public procurement and professional practice in Nigeria,” he added.

He listed the benefits of Order 5 as embracing science, technology and innovation (STI), increasing the quantum of value created in the Nigerian economy and promoting made in Nigeria campaign.

Also, to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contract, support foreign companies who showed demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous capacity development and enable Nigerian companies to lead in any consultancy services, including joint venture relationships relating to law, engineering, ICT, architecture, procurement, and quantity surveying.

He said that the MDAs would play a statutory role in processing approvals for expatriate quota, entry permits and visas into Nigeria and issuance of permits.

Fashola emphasised that there was the need to curtail the abuse of the permits by Nigerians who would collude with foreigners even as he called on relevant professional institutions to bridge competency defects that would make Nigerians vulnerable to foreign manpower.

He was optimistic that localising production and consumption would cripple unemployment since demand would boost production and create jobs.