President Muhammadu Buhari Wednesday in Abuja called for more concerted effort, creative and innovative ideas from the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in reversing the infrastructure deficit in the country, saying “Nigerian problems require uniquely Nigerian solutions.”
The president, who received a delegation of the NSE led by the president of the Council of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr Adekunle Mokuolu, said reversing the deficit would require indigenous capacity.
He said the government has deliberately structured policies to favour more local content and capacity development.
“The foundations of any developed, competitive and prosperous society are based on good education and quality infrastructure. Many nations we look up to are those with adequate and accessible infrastructure, power and water resources.
“They achieved these by embracing engineering and of course, engineers. Over the years, Nigerian engineers have been recognized globally for carrying out amazing and impactful projects. Unfortunately, this is not the case here at home as for decades, the enabling environment was simply not provided for these innovative and creative professionals to flourish and showcase our country as an engineering hub,’’ he said.
The president urged the professionals to look inward in showcasing their knowledge and skill in a way that would directly impact the nation.
“In the past four years, we focused on reversing this trend by introducing policies that will create the enabling environment for engineers to succeed and thrive.
“We introduced Executive Orders and embarked on several infrastructure development and rehabilitation projects. As a Government, we also prioritized local content in our procurement processes,’’ he said.
The president asked the engineers to continue to support government at all levels to build a more prosperous society.
In his remarks, Mr Adekunle Mokuolu commended the president for expressing his belief in local capacity in 2009 at an NSE conference and following up with Executive Orders, appointments and recognition of the regulatory council to further encourage engineers in partnering with the government to develop the country.
The NSE president said the engineering society had been playing a strategic role in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan and had established a North East Rehabilitation Committee.
While presenting a list of requests to the president, which includes involving members in conceptual stages of projects, Mokuolu said the council had started domestication of global codes and standards, noting that it now has 75 branches spread across the country, with two in foreign cities, Houston and London.