President Muhammadu Buhari has assured that his administration would not exclude Nigerians from reaping the benefits of loans obtained overseas for the execution of infrastructure projects.
This is even as he disclosed that the executive order 5 issued earlier this year is a step towards ensuring that the economic potentials of these investments in infrastructure are maximised for the benefits of Nigerians.
He stated this in Abuja, yesterday, at the 60th anniversary celebration of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) with the theme, ‘Re-engineering the Engineers for Optimum National Economic Growth and Development.”
According to him, “When you borrow, don’t consume it, invest it in bricks and mortar like building hospitals, schools, airports, roads among others so that in the event the economy catalyses, you would be in a very good position to repay what you have borrowed.”
Buhari revealed that federal government recovered about 690 containers, containing power equipment that were stalled at the seaports, adding that the containers have been distributed to transmission substations across the country.
Represented by minister of Power, Works & Housing, Babatunde Fashola, he noted that his administration is undertaking massive infrastructure renewal programmes like the East-West road, Benin-Okene-Lokoja highway, Loko-Oweto bridge among others.
Also speaking, the president of NSE, Engr Adekunle Mokuolu, noted that the core advocacies of engineers over the years targeted the promotion of economic diversification and pursuit of industrialisation by government.
He was optimistic that Nigeria could only achieve the desired self-reliance and economic growth through deliberate utilisation of indigenous technology.
Mokuolu lamented the unbearable level of disservice to the country by government through the neglect of professional advice in implementing developmental policies.
In his presentation, a senior lecturer, Department of Civil Engineering, Delta State University, Abraka, Engr Hillary Owamah, regretted that poverty is higher in Nigeria due to high importation of goods from different countries instead of manufacturing goods.
He listed the causes of technological backwardness in Nigeria as inability to commercialise research findings and lack of willingness to develop military inventions made during the Nigerian civil war.
Owamah also linked discouragement of technological growth by the colonial masters as part of the problems adding that Nigerian educational system during the colonial regime was built on wrong philosophy as confirmed by Lord Lugard.
He challenged federal government to provide enabling environment for engineers to embark on technological breakthrough, lamenting that policy makers made technological decisions without consulting the engineers.
Owamah regretted that the quality of students from primary and secondary schools has become too low to adequately meet the requirements needed to study engineering in tertiary institutions.
He maintained that lack of funding, lack of adequate training facilities and equipment, redundant curriculum and poor utilisation of ICT in training were the major challenges militating against engineering education in the country, even as he sought the upgrade of facilities in universities.