CHARTER FOR THE NIGERIAN SOCIETY OF ENGINEERS AND THE ENGINEERING PROFESSION IN NIGERIA
Paper Presented at the Special Dinner for the Conferment of Fellowship of The Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) at the Banquet Hall, NAF Conference Centre and Suites, Kado District, Abuja on Thursday, 21st July, 2016 at 6:00 pm
By Engr. Prof. Simon V. Irtwange, FNSE
National President and Chairman of Council Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria
1. Why the Charter?
1.1 Engineering in Nigeria in 2016
Engr. Otis Anyaeji, FNSE President of The Nigerian Society of Engineers, in his “Onward Strategic Vision for The Nigerian Society of Engineers” published in January, 2016 listed three main issues bedeviling the growth of Engineering in Nigeria as:
_Non-inclusion of Engineers in engineering matters/projects
_Capacity deficit and
_Poor image/low prestige of the Nigerian Engineer
1.2 Engineering in Nigeria 48 Years Ago
Engr. Prince Segun Adedeji, FNSE posted the Communiqué of the first NSE Conference held December 10 -14, 1968 on the Fellows Google Group on May 9, 2016 at 3:10 pm. After the preamble, the Conference recommended as follows:
(i) That engineers should be represented at all stages of national planning and that they should be included in the final decision making processes;
(ii) That it should be a policy of Government that all professional ministries and professional government corporations should be headed by professionals, e.g., the Ministries of Works and Housing, Transport, Communications, Industries, Mines and Power that have high engineering content or technological bias should be headed by professional engineers; Just to mention the first two, etc
The issues that were raised in that Communiqué 48 years ago are still with us today – NOTHING HAS CHANGED
1.3 Failure to Walk the Walk
_ Workshop on Value for Money in Engineering Projects Held at Gurara Hall, Rockview Hotel, Abuja: 6 – 7 April, 2009
_ 19th COREN Engineering Assembly Held at the International Conference Centre, Abuja: 3rd – 4th August, 2010
_ International Workshop on Engineering Education in Nigeria Held At Rockview Hotel (Royale), Abuja: 5th – 7th October, 2010
_ 20th COREN Zonal Engineering Assembly @ Ibadan:7th – 8th June, 2011; Kaduna:12th -13th July 2011 and Enugu: 2nd – 3rd August, 2011
_ International Workshop on Maintenance of Infrastructure Held at Rockview Hotel (Classic), Abuja: 20th – 24th February, 2012
_ Upcoming: 25th COREN Engineering Assembly, Akure: 8-10 August, 2016 (Another Jamboree? Just Talking the Talk?)
Communiqué Implementation Plan to encourage Walking the Walk
Finding: Even aspects of the Communiqué that has to do with COREN usually does not get done.
2. COREN to the Rescue?
2.1 Establishment of COREN
COREN was established as a body corporate on 5th December, 1970 to end the lamentations of the Nigerian Engineers with the following general duty of:
_ determining who are engineers for the purposes of this Act;
_ determining what standards of knowledge and skill are to be attained by persons seeking to become registered as engineers and raising those standards from time to time as circumstances may permit;
_ securing, in accordance with the provisions of this Act, the establishment and maintenance of a register of persons entitled to practise as registered engineers and the publication from time to time of lists of those persons;
_ regulating and controlling the practice of the engineering profession in all its aspects and ramifications;
_ performing the other functions conferred on the Council by this Act.
Note the emphasis on engineers to the exclusion of other members of the engineering family
2.2 Challenges of COREN
COREN has not been able to deliver as envisaged due to several challenges:
2.2.1 Leadership Structure
_ 1 person elected by Council as the President (gradually becoming a full time Executive President even as Council is now constrained to meet 4x a year)
_ 6 persons elected to represent NSE (gradually becoming the prerogative of Past Presidents of NSE who go to COREN to fight for who becomes the next COREN President; usually NOT elected)
_ 4 persons appointed to represent Universities (more political than
professional – my personal little story)
_ 1 person appointed to represent Polytechnics (usually an engineer)
_ 1 person appointed to represent technical colleges (not sure !!!)
_ 6 persons appointed to represent the States of the Federation (more political
than professional – another little story)
_ 4 persons nominated by the Minister (more political than professional)
_ 3 persons; one each from technologists, technicians and craftsmen cadre
Total = 26 members who in some cases are more from one engineering discipline to the exclusion of others, Civil Engineering in my time.
2.2.2 Administrative Structure
The Council Committees are
_ Professional Development/Education and Training
_ Regulation and Control
_ Finance and General Purpose
Functional Support Departments are
_ Professional Development/Education and Training (Accreditation, SITSIE, etc)
_ Regulation and Control (Registration, ERM, etc)
_ Management Services (General Administration, Human Capital, etc)
_ Accounts (Stores, etc)
_ Registry (IT, Legal, PR, Audit, etc)
These are skewed more towards functional support areas than engineering which should be the focus of the Council. The end result is an engineering regulatory body staffed majorly by non professionals with an ineffective and emasculated Registry.
2.2.3 Neglect of Primary Function of Accreditation
The MOU on Accreditation Visitation between NBTE and COREN signed on 27th March 2003 effectively transferred visitation to Polytechnics, Colleges of Technology and Technical Colleges for purposes of accreditation, reaccreditation,
resources inspection and advisory visits to NBTE. Efforts in 2010 to determine/review this MOU proved abortive.
COREN has therefore abdicated its responsibilities at the technologists, technicians and craftsmen levels under the guise of co-regulation with National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) even as there is no consideration for teachers that produce skills at craftsmen level by COREN.
2.2.3 Neglect of Primary Function of Accreditation
So far, COREN has maintained the regulation of engineering education in the Universities through accreditation but there are indications that university programmes accreditation has by and large become a footnote on COREN agenda and implemented with friends and those that can return the favors (again, my little story).
Little wonder, National Universities Commission (NUC), following in the footsteps of National Board for Technical Education (NBTE) is making frantic efforts to also take over this function under the guise of co-regulation – we shall soon be left with nothing
A recent letter from the Minister of Education to Vice Chancellor’s of Nigerian Universities suggest that COREN seemed to have compromised on their regulatory roles with resulting fall in standards of engineering education– is anybody listening?
2.2.4 Failure of the Regulation & Control and ERM
Since the establishment of COREN, no Regulations have been produced going by Section 22 of COREN Act. However, efforts have been made in the following areas:
_ Engineering Consultancy and Project Management Services Agreement, Charges and Conditions of Engagement (ECOPACCE) – This Regulation has been signed by COREN President and Registrar as an advisory and not by the Minister
_ Regulations for Licensing of Engineering Firms –This Regulations is in a draft published on COREN website on Monday, 05 October, 2015 12:05 for input of
2.2.5 Engineering Salary Structure:
In an undated memo to Council, probably in March, 2011, the immediate past Registrar of COREN, Engr. Felix Atume, FNSE, mni wrote: “The need to have a salary structure for Engineering Personnel has become imperative.
Anywhere the President, Registrar and other officials of the Council visit, they are confronted by Engineering Personnel who demand to know what COREN is doing
about the long over-due Salary Structure of Engineering Personnel. The demand is genuine especially against the fact that other professionals such as Medical and
Veterinary Doctors, Accountants and Geologists enjoy unique salary structures….
The situation has become critically worrisome as Engineering Personnel watch their colleagues lifted high above them either on graduation or on registration with their professional bodies. For instance, fresh graduates of Geology have GL 09 as their starting point in the Civil Service while engineers are placed on GL 08.
Fresh medical doctors are placed on GL 12. Council is kindly invited to consider the report as presented above and discuss it with a view to achieving the objective of getting an Engineering Salary Structure for Engineering Personnel”.
The GOOD NEWS however is that the NSE President was scheduled to make a presentation to the 38th Meeting of the National Council on Establishment (NCE) in Minna holding from Monday 18th July, – Friday 22nd July, 2016. The issues under consideration are:
_ That after six years of academic and practical work in the University, the Engineer has to train for at least another four years in the industry before he/she can be registered
_ That the Entry Point for fresh Engineering Graduates of COREN accredited programmes into the Federal Public Service should be Grade Level 10 step 4
_ That Engineers be upgraded to Grade Level 12 step 5 immediately they get registered with Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, COREN
_ That Entry Point for Engineers already Registered with COREN be Grade Level 12 step 5
NSE championing the cause for Engineers on the register of COREN. What about the other members of the engineering family? Who fights for them?
2.3 Efforts to help COREN deliver
Several efforts have been made in the past to ensure that COREN functions properly:
2.3.1Government White Paper (GWP) on the Report of the Presidential Committee on Strategic Plans for Engineering Development in Nigeria: October, 2005 COREN failed to distil the salient issues to make regulations to enforce the gainful provisions of the GWP.
Example, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila has just proposed a Law in July, 2016 to restrict foreigners from securing employment in fields where the competency of Nigerian Nationals could be ascertained for purposes of capacity development and job creation. We got this in the 2005 GWP under the expatriate quota provision (my little story and encounter with former Minister of Interior Comrade Abba Moro at the public hearing on abuse of expatriate quota at the National Assembly).
2.3.2 A Workshop on COREN Act was held on Tuesday 15th June, 2010.
The Workshop dwelt on a lot of issues aimed at moving COREN forward. The Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice of Kwara State, Dr. Ali Ahmed was the sole paper presenter. The Secretary, Presidential Committee on Strategic Plans for Engineering Development in Nigeria also attended and made immense contributions. Some of the 13 resolutions reached were:
(a) That COREN should adequately implement the COREN Act
(b) That COREN should make rules and regulation as it is empowered by the COREN Act, so that it can effectively regulate the engineering profession in Nigeria
(c) That COREN should put every machinery in place so as to be actively involved in the accreditation of Engineering Programmes in all Nigerian Universities, Polytechnics and Technical Colleges
(d)That a letter should be written to all ministries and parastatals directing that all engineering memos must bear the stamp/seal of the issuing engineer
(e) COREN should take stock of the level of implementation of the Government White Paper on Strategic Plans for Engineering Development in Nigeria
(f) COREN should enforce the law that all Engineering Personnel must register with the Council and solicit that only registered Engineers are appointed Ministers/Commissioners of Work, Steel and Power and Petroleum, just as it is elsewhere, e.g., Ministers of Justice and Health always are Lawyers and Medical Doctors Council at its 126th ordinary Meeting of Thursday 17th June, 2010 directed that the F&GPC was best placed to drive the resolutions of the workshop because of its terms of reference – END OF STORY.
Even a simple letter as in recommendation (d) was not done.
2.3.3Appraisal of the Structure of COREN:
During the 127th Ordinary Council Meeting of Wednesday, 29th September, 2010, Council approved the engagement of a Consultant to carry out the appraisal of the structure of COREN Registry for effective and efficient performance. The Consultant who carried out a similar restructuring for NSE was contacted and he submitted a proposal made up of the following:
_ Organizational Structure Diagnostic
_ Identify Gaps/Inefficiencies
_ Generate Alternative Organisational Structure Options
_ Define New Organizational Structure
_ Conduct Compensation Survey and Recommend New Compensation/Benefit Structure
_ Recommend Training needs/Requirements
_ Define Job Description and Specifications
_ External Recruitment
_ Internal Selection, etc
The contract was awarded at an estimated total cost of N3,450,000.00 including VAT. This was a case of self admission that all was (and still is) not well even though the leadership structure was understandably unaffected by the scope of the contract.
2.3.4 Engr. A. A. Nahuche sub-Committee Report to Explore the Possibility of COREN Financing its Recurrent Activities without the Federal Government Finance – Paper No. FGPC/04/03 of 14th December, 2010. The report concluded as follows:
“Based on all the available data, there is no doubt that COREN can finance its recurrent expenditure entirely from the Internally Generated Revenue”.
Charter status may relieve the Government of the funding of COREN and prevent the situation where “he that pays the piper dictates the tune”.
2.3.5 In 2012, Senator Dr. Ibrahim A. Gobir sponsored A Bill For
An Act to Amend the Engineers (Registration Etc) Act Cap E11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and for Other Matters Connected Therewith Bill 2012
The Bill sought to amend Sections 1, 4, 6, 7, 13, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22 and Sections 1 & 2 to the first Schedule. Let’s take Section 1 and section 2 to the first schedules as examples (the first and the last of the proposed amendments)
Be it Enacted by the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as follows Amendment of Cap 11 LFN 2004 .
1.(1) The Engineers (Registration etc) CAP 11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 (in this Act referred to as “the principal Act”) is amended as set out in this Act.
(2) the principal Act is amended by substituting the words “ engineers” with the words “ engineering personnel” wherever it appears .
Amendment of Section 1.
2. Section 1 of the Principal Act is amended—
(a) in subsection (1) by inserting a new paragraph (d) and (e) and re numbering the existing paragraph (d) and (e) as paragraph (f) and (g) as follows —
New paragraph (d)
(d) operating industrial training schemes in Engineering for the training of Engineering personnel
New paragraph (e)
(e) ensuring capacity building and monitoring local content development in the Nigerian engineering industry through the following means among others—
(i) mandatory attachment of Nigerians to expatriate engineers on major projects to understudy them from inception
(ii) ensuring that all foreign engineering firms establish their design offices in Nigeria;
(iii) granting of compulsory attestation to all expatriate quota application that there are no qualified Nigerians for the jobs in question at the time of the application and
(iv)ensuring that such foreign engineering personnel granted work permit first register with the Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria before being allowed to practice in Nigeria
Amendment of section 2 to the first Schedule
14. Section 2 of the first schedule is amended in subsection (1) by inserting new subsection (2) and paragraphs (a) –(c) and subsection (3) and by renumbering the existing subsection (2) as new subsection (4) and a new sub section (5) as follows
(2) Enter and inspect sites where construction, installation, erection, alteration, renovation maintenance, processing or manufacturing works are in progress for the purpose of verifying that –
(a) Professional engineering services and works are undertaken by registered persons under this Act;
(b) Professional engineering works services and goods rendered by professional engineers ;
(c) Where any deviation arises in respect to paragraphs (a) and (b) instruct ,direct or order the suspension of any professional engineering services works , projects, and installation process or any other engineering works which are done without meeting the set out standards
(3) Plan, arrange, co-ordinate and oversee continuing professional training and development and facilitate internship of graduate engineers”
(5) Where any conflict arises between the provisions of this section and the provisions of any other written law for the time being in force , the provisions of this section shall prevail”
3. Can we Re-invent the Wheel?
NSE Established 1958
The first NSE Conference 1968
COREN Established 1970
Is COREN the creation of NSE? YES
Could NSE had opted for Charter Status in 1970 rather than COREN ? YES
Are there Charter examples? YES
Can you list some of them? YES
_ Engineering Council, UK
_ Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria
_ Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered)
_ Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria
_ Chartered Institute of Taxation of Nigeria
_ Chartered Institute of Marketing of Nigeria
_ Chartered Insurance Institute of Nigeria
_ Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria
_ Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers
Is it too late for NSE to reinvent the wheel? NO
Can we continue to leave the future of engineering in the hands of 26 political appointees who are there today and tomorrow they are not? NO
How can this be achieved going forward? PROPOSE A BILL
The Nigerian Society of Engineering Personnel (Chartered) (Establishment) Bill, 2016 (or any other appropriate name such as Nigerian Engineering Society (Chartered), Nigerian Engineering Association (Chartered), etc)
A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of The Nigerian Society of Engineering Personnel(Chartered) to provide for among other things, the Regulation, Control, Enforcement and to Determine the Standard of Knowledge to
be Attained by People Seeking to Become Registered and Chartered Engineering Personnel and for Connected Purposes.
The Bill shall provide a framework for the proper operations of other members of the engineering family that have been neglected under the present arrangement and without whom engineering and the economy in Nigeria can never be competitive. These are
_ NATE – Nigerian Association of Technologists in Engineering
_ NISET – Nigerian Society of Engineering Technicians
_ NAEC – Nigerian Association of Engineering Craftsmen
_ ACEN – Association of Consulting Engineering in Nigeria
End Result of the Charter?
The functions of COREN shall be taken over by The Nigerian Society of Engineering Personnel (Chartered) thus effectively bringing the Lamentations of the Nigerian Engineering Personnel since the first NSE Conference in 1968 to an end.
It is envisaged that Charter for the Nigerian Society of Engineers and the Nigerian Profession in Nigeria will fast track CHANGE along the lines of Professional Development/Radically Improved Engineering Education and Training for the overall benefit of the country’s techno-economic development.
4. Is There a Contemporary Example?
4.1 ICEN Establishment Bill, 2016
HOUSE ORDER PAPER NO. 9
4. Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria (Establishment) Bill, 2016 (HB.
A Bill for an Act to Provide for the Establishment of the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria to provide for among other things, the Regulation, Control, and to Determine the Standard of Knowledge to be Attained by People Seeking to Become Chartered Economists and for Connected Purposes
8th Parliament | 2nd Session | House of Representatives | Order Papers | 23/06/2016
4. Is There a Contemporary Example?
4.2 ICEN Bill, 2016 & Proposed EP Charter Bill Contrasted
4.2 ICEN Bill, 2016 & Proposed EP Charter Bill Contrasted
4.3 Proposed EP Charter Bill & COREN Act Contrasted
4. Is There a Contemporary Example?
4.4 Provisions of ICEN Bill, 2016
1. Establishment of the Institute of Chartered Economists
2. Establishment and Composition of the Governing Council of the Institute (Qualification and Tenure of Council Members)
3. Election of National President and Vice President
4. Establishment of the Board of Trustees
5. Admission into the Institute (Membership Privileges and Invitation)
6. Duties of Members and Code of Conduct
7. Incidental Powers of the Institute
8. Financial Provisions
9. Accounts and Audit
10. Annual Report
11. Appointment of Registrar and the Preparation of the Registrar
12. Duties of the Registrar
13. When a Person Deemed to Practice as a Chartered Economists
14. Rules as Articles, Practicing Fees, etc
15. Regulations and Rules
16. Location of Principal Headquarters and Regional Offices
17. Professional Discipline and Establishment of Ethics/Disciplinary
18. Offences and Penalties for Unprofessional Conduct of Members
19. Offences and Penalties General
_ Schedule 1 Section 2 Supplementary provisions Relating to the Council and the Institute
_Qualifications and Tenure of Office of Members
_Powers of Council
_Annual General Meeting of the Institute
_Meeting of the Council
_ Schedule 2 Section 4(5) Supplementary Provisions Related to the Admission of Members into the Institute
_ Schedule 3 Section 5 Code of Conduct for Members
_ Schedule 4 Section 13 Supplementary Provisions Related to the
Ethics/Disciplinary Tribunal and Investigation Panel of the Tribunal
5. What Role for the Board of Fellows/ College of Fellows?
The Board of Fellows/College of Fellows, assisted by the Legal Services Unit of NSE, should come up with a draft charter bill acceptable to the Nigeria engineering family and seek sponsorship by a distinguished member of the National Assembly. The following documents are recommended:
_ The Bill for an Act to establish the Institute of Chartered Economists of Nigeria currently before the National Assembly
_ Similar Acts of the National Assembly for Nigerian Institute of Management (Chartered), etc
_ Similar Chartered Institutes in Countries other than Nigeria
_ Onward Strategic Vision for The Nigerian Society of Engineers” published in January, 2016 By Engr. Otis Anyaeji, FNSE President of The Nigerian Society of Engineers
_ Government White Paper on the Report of the Presidential Committee on Strategic Plans for Engineering Development in Nigeria: October, 2005
_ Engr. A. A. Nahuche sub-Committee report to Explore the Possibility of COREN Financing its Recurrent Activities without the Federal Government Finance – Paper No. FGPC/04/03 of 14th December, 2010.
_ A Bill For An Act to Amend the Engineers (Registration Etc) Act Cap E11 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and for Other Matters Connected Therewith Bill 2012 sponsored by Senator Dr. Ibrahim A. Gobir
_ All NSE & COREN Conferences and Workshops Communiqués from 1968 to date
_ COREN Engineers (Registration, etc) ACT CAP E11 2004 _ NSE MEMART
_ NSE Guidelines for Divisions and Branches
_ Relevant NATE, NISET, NAIC and ACEN publications
Thanks for your Kind Attention