Engineers Chide FG Over N458bn Contract to Foreign Firms
Posted: 19/Sep/2017

Nigeria’s engineers have registered their displeasure over the award of N458billion rail lines projects to foreign firms by the Federal Government without considering indigenous engineering companies and contractors for partnership in the project.

Group Chief Executive Director, Khariz Group, Dr. Samson Opaluwah; Managing director, Enville Environmental Consultant Limited, Dr. Celina Maduemezia, an engineer; President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Otis Oliver Anyaeji as well as Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, said this during the induction of some distinguished professionals into the Nigeria’s Construction Industry Hall of Fame in Lagos.

These  criticisms stemmed from the recent rail lines projects awarded to Chinese  firms by the Federal government . One of these projects is the $1.581 billion Lagos-Ibadan rail line, which would have a branch line to Apapa Ports

Consequently, the experts said this was “unacceptable” given the Local Content policy of the government.

Specifically, Opaluwah said that the Government’s action would not enhance economic development, but encourage capital flight and increase unemployment rates among citizens.

He pointed out that  no nation desirous of political and economic independence would hand over its socio-economic development and management to foreigners.

He said: “Nigeria has witnessed in the last 50 years, a high volume of capital flight from its petro-dollar earnings due to the inability to put in place and sustain a viable policy of maximasing the value for money derived from developmental expenditure in the public and private sectors of the economy.”

According to him, the state of the nation’s infrastructure is directly related to  non-committal posture of the foreign contractors whose primary motive for participating in the Nigerian economy is pure profit, adding that the long-term and life-cycle functional availability of the projects is not their primary concern.

He insisted that Nigerians should  be allowed to develop their country.

Similarly, Dr. Maduemezia, said that the Federal Government should take interest in things that affect Nigerians, calling for extension and  implementation of Local Content Law in the construction sector.

President, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Mr. Otis Oliver Anyaeji,  noted that the amount of money spent  by the government yearly to import 1 million tons of steel to the country was enough to build a  factory that will roll out one million tons of steel.

He advised the government to patronise Nigerian engineers and firms, saying that they have the ability  and competency to compete with their foreign counterparts.

Former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Obong Victor Attah, also urged professionals in the built environment to make advances in certain sectors, noting that the progress already made in the area of local content in project execution in oil and gas industry could be improved upon.

“We have to produce basic infrastructure for the development of local content. Also, there is need for patriotism,” Attah said.

“National Assembly must perform its oversight function on this matter and insist that the Local content law be implemented.”

By: Dayo Ayeyemi
News Telegraph