By Michael Oche,
The Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN) has explained the need for government at all levels in Nigeria to jettison the use of foreign professionals when executing developmental projects and when seeking solutions to problems in the country.
President, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Chief Olumuyiwa Alade Ajibola FNSE, while speaking with journalists on the sideline of the 9th summit of professionals in Ibadan expressed sadly over government’s reliance on foreign professionals at the detriment of local professionals
He said Nigerian professionals are in better position to offer solutions to Nigerian’s challenges as they are familiar with the system.
The conference themed:”Nigeria Beyond Today” organised by APBN was held at Premier Hotel, Ibadan, on Tuesday.
Ajibola noted that, “One of the reasons we are here is to discuss among other issues government’s sole reliance on foreign professionals to carry out some functions which local professionals can effectively perform.
“Like I said earlier, foreign professionals are being relied upon in several government departments for solutions to Nigeria’s problems, whereas, those that can best solve the problems are those that are actually faced with the problems.
“Let me give you an example, for instance, to develop a road between one village and another, who best knows how to do it are the local professionals because they would have studied the movement, the type of terrain, the typical transportation that is expected to use the road and so on. They know best how to do it.
“We also have other issues like health, education and all sectors. We are the ones that know best our problems and with the knowledge that we have acquired as professionals, we can then approach those problems, define them better and by defining our problems clearly, then we are half way to the solution, and we can proffer solutions.
“We can apply technologies and seek foreign expertise which can be shared, no country is an island in any situation. So if we get all these together, then we get a better solution than just relying solely on foreign professionals.”
In his paper presentation, Prof Pat Utomi spoke on the role of professionals and why they should be concerned about the future.
He also spoke on experience with History and Nigerian Professionals on the Frontline, the current COVID-19 challenges and duty for the professional
A financial expert, Yomi Olugbenro in his paper presentation titled “Nigeria today, beyond financial security” expressed concerns over the “significant deficits in power, rail, road and critical infrastructure shows inadequacy of government funding”
He said the size of Nigeria’s GDP and population show pitiable gap in comparison with revenue, while stressing that Nigeria’s Debt/GDP ratio remain decent, debt servicing capacity shows grave concerns
He said to close the gap, there is urgent need to tackling illicit financial flows and corporate in public and private sectors, block revenue leakages in all MDAs as well as investment in infrastructure.
He also said there is need to focus on Public Private Partnerships, which reduces government’s cost of infrastructure, reduces borrowing, engenders transparency & accountability and minimizes corruption.
He said, “Nigeria needs to grow at 12% annually (i.e. about 9% above population growth) just to double GDP/capital in 8 years (using the rule of 72, a 9% growth amounts to doubling in 8 years). That is scary, but we need to set where we want income/head to be at, and then set policies and direction for this.
One of the speakers at the summit, Francis Olawale, in his paper presentation titled:”Policy of Governance And The Professionals’ Input” posited that the role of professionals in any socioeconomic enclave is very critical as the professionals collectively constitute the metaphorical lynchpin of the socioeconomic growth.
“Professionals must drive the acculturation of governance ideal, by virtue of their vantage positions as enlightened and skilled segment of the contemporary socioeconomic order.” He concluded.