COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE COREN 26TH ENGINEERING ASSEMBLY HELD AT THE ABUJA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA

DRAFT COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE END OF THE COREN 26TH ENGINEERING ASSEMBLY HELD AT THE ABUJA INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE CENTRE, ABUJA FEDERAL CAPITAL CITY. MONDAY 7TH – WEDNESDAY 9TH AUGUST, 2017.

THEME: ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND MANUFACTURING IN NIGERIA: Challenges and Opportunities for a better future.

PREAMBLE
The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) held its 26th Engineering Assembly at the Abuja International Conference Centre, Federal Capital City, Abuja from Monday 7th to Wednesday 9th August, 2017. To situate the discourse within an appropriate body of knowledge and practice, the theme adopted for the Assembly, was “Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing in Nigeria: Challenges and Opportunities for a Better Future.”

The Special Guest of Honour invited at the Opening Ceremony was His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, GCFR, Acting President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by His Excellency, Dr. Chief Ogbonnaya Onu. The Chief Host is the Hon. Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Engr. Babatunde Raji Fashola, SAN, represented by Engr. Abdulwahab Ajadi, FNSE. The Host was the Honourable Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Alh. Muhammad Musa Bello represented by the Executive Secretary of Federal Capital Development Authority,FCDA, Engr. U.G. Jibrin. The opening ceremony was chaired by His Excellency, Alh. Umaru Tanko Al-Makura, the Governor of Nasarawa State.

The Keynote Address, titled “Entrepreneurship and Manufacturing in Nigeria: Deepening Local Content Opportunities for a Better Future” was presented by Engr. Simbi Kesiye Wabote, Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board.

Other Special Guests Present:

i. Engr. Rear Adm. Gboribiogha John Jonah, FNSE, OON, Acting Governor of Bayelsa State.
ii. Sen. Abdulahi Adamu, former Governor of Nasarawa State.
iii. Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, the Hon. Speaker of the House of Representative, represented by Rt. Hon. Engr. Solomon Maren.
iv. The Honourable Minister of Water Resources, Engr. Suleiman Adamu, FNSE.
v. Minister of State for Trade & Investment, Mrs Aisha Abubakar, represented by Engr. Bata Indapriya, FNSE.
vi. Justice Useni Yusuf, Judge of the Federal High Court.

Goodwill messages were delivered by:
i. Mal. Mohammed Musa Bello, Representative of the FCT Minister, Engr. U. G. Jibrin, FNSE.
ii. Engr. Suleiman Adamu, FNSE, Hon. Minister of Water Resources and Current President of Association of Consulting Engineers (ACEN),
iii. Alh. Hadi Hadi Sirika, Minister of State for Aviation.
iv. Engr. Chidi Izuala, FNSE, Director General of Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission.
v. Engr. Aminu Usman, FNSE, Hon. Commissioner of Transport, Jigawa State, Representing Governor of Jigawa State.
vi. Hon. Solomon Bulus Maren, Representing the Hon. Speaker of the Federal House of Representative, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara.

The Sub-Theme papers presented were:
a. Digital Empowerment Agenda for Businesses in Traditional Engineering Disciplines” by Engr. Titi Omo – Ettu FNSE

b. From Entrepreneur & Services provider to manufacturer: lessons and experiences of BG TECHNICAL LTD by Engr. Onuoha Geoffery Chiemeka

c. Challenges and possible solutions in the rail road transportation in Nigeria by Engr. Austine Oguayi, Representing Engr. Freeborn Edetanlaen Okhiriaa, DG, Nigerian Railway Corporation.

d. Facilitating and promoting industrial growth in Nigeria; the role of SMEDAN by Engr. Abu Ozigi MNSE.

e. Women Entrepreneurship; Setting agenda for the future by Engr. Mrs. Oduwa Ayela – Agboneni

f. Maintaining Entrepreneurial and Industrial Standards in Nigeria by Mrs Oluremi Ayeni, representing the Director General of SON, Mr. Osita A. Aboloma.

g. Regulating the engineering profession by Engr. Wopa Kamila FNSE

h. Concepts & Contents – Rehabilitation of Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport, Abuja by Julius Berger Nigeria Plc.

The 26th Engineering Assembly was well organized and held successfully. There were also syndicate meetings of Professional Associations and other Stakeholders, otherwise called the Engineering Family Forum. The Assembly was attended by three thousand, six hundred and fifty-five (3,655) participants which comprised of 2,511 engineers, 181 technologists, 121 technicians and 63 craftsmen. In attendance also were other invited guests and stakeholders from all walks of life.

The annual Engineering Assembly is the biggest gathering of engineering professionals aimed at evaluating, discussing and proffering solutions to issues of interest to members of the engineering family and the nation at large.

OBSERVATIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS:

At the end of the 26th Engineering Assembly the following observations/ recommendations were made:

1. The Assembly applauds the Federal Government for the approval of the Policy Guidelines for Federal Executive Council, Ministries, Departments, and Agencies on the Planning and Execution of Projects, Programmes and Contracts that have Science, Engineering and Technology Components and call for issuance of the requisite executive order and the implementation in the interest of meaningful national development.

2. The assembly noted the launch of the outcome based education benchmark for engineering programmes in Nigerian universities by COREN. The presentation of its template to the Washington Accord in line with International Standards and best practices, and the consequent recognition of the COUNCIL’S efforts in accreditation by its invitation to carry out accreditation exercises in European institutions with the most recent invitation coming from Cyprus, is commendable.

3. The Assembly observed that the review of the current BMAS to reflect outcome based curriculum will give the students early start in the engineering life and also improve their mobility across the globe. The Assembly supports COREN in this regard as it strives to actualize the mandate for which it was set up.

4. The assembly noted with delight the efforts of COREN on the review of the COREN Act to make it more encompassing and to reflect the current realities of the present situation in Nigeria.

The Assembly recommends that the menace of building collapse and failure of engineering infrastructure could be ameliorated through stricter legislation, regulation and control mechanism throughout the project development life cycle. In the event of an infrastructural failure, appropriate sanctions should be meted out to perpetrator(s) of breaches of standard order of procedures, and relevant codes of engineering practice in engineering projects, to serve as deterrence.

5. The efforts of COREN in the vanguard of resuscitation of Technical Education and Training in Nigeria is highly commendable particularly on the five year draft strategic plan on technical manpower shortage

6. The Assembly noted the progress made in the rehabilitation of the rail mode of transportation in Nigeria and its challenges.

The Assembly recommends the repeal of the Railway act of 1955 to promote private sector participation in rail business. This will create opportunities for short and medium terms investment in the sector.

7. The Assembly noted with chagrin that, the Federal Government is set to import 45,000 tons of railway track into Nigeria from China, in spite of the nation’s huge iron ore deposit. This move has demonstrated a disregard to the nation’s local content policy.

The Assembly recommends that COREN should make strident efforts to draw the Governments attention to the possibility of producing half the number rail tracks earmarked for importation from the Ajaokuta Steel Complex in line with the nation’s local content policy.

8. In as much as the Assembly recognizes the laudable and envisioned objectives of the 2014 Nigerian Industrial Development Plan (NIDP) in driving the process of; job creation, economic and revenue diversification, import substitution, export diversification, and broadened government tax base, it is lamentable that not much can be said to have been achieved to date.

The Assembly recommends the full implementations of Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring (NCDMB) policy to maximize in-country value retention and addition, and enforce the utilization of Nigerian goods and services as a catalyst for industrialization of the Nigerian economy.

9. The Assembly also observed that activities of many start-up engineering businesses, especially for women entrepreneurs, are in dire need of adequate mentoring and funding.

It recommended that Government should provide incentives that encourage engineering entrepreneurs (i.e. engineneurs and technoneurs) to risk attempting new and innovative ventures. Hence, more opening for funding and venture partnerships from banks – i.e. the Bank of Industry and other funding agencies should be made easily accessible for prospective ‘engineneurs’ and ‘technoneurs’, to unleash their full economic potentials.

10. The Assembly notes that entrepreneurship is essential for job creation and economic growth. It also wish to stress the significance of engineering products and services standardization for the purpose of product fitness and durability, protection of public safety and environmental health, better product utilization, promoting transfer of technology, and removal of trade barriers.

The Assembly commends the drive to create jobs and wealth for the economy, but that should of necessity conform with requisite copyright/patenting laws, and product and trade standardization benchmarks, to promote export and global competitiveness of the products and services provided by indigenous ‘engineneurs’ and ‘technoneurs’. The Assembly also recommends that the exportation of raw materials without undergoing value addition should be discouraged.

11. The Assembly observes that the Nigerian Content Policy is key to driving entrepreneurship and manufacturing activities geared towards the resuscitation and revamping of the economy.

The Assembly lauds the implementation of One Local Government One Product (OLOP) programme of SMEDAN through the provision of machinery support to micro-enterprise. The Assembly notes that this programme as a bottom-top regional economic development model has demonstrated the capacity to mobilize local people to translate naturally-available resources (i.e. unique skills/raw materials) of rural communities into value-added economic activities.

12. The Assembly commends COREN for the presentation of the new concrete mix design manual -the first of its type as a nation, for practitioners in Nigeria. It recommended its circulation for use.

13. The Assembly recognizes the role of ICT as a driver of businesses, and also an effective tool for learning and productivity.

The Assembly recommends consistent and sustainable digital empowerment agenda for growing big businesses in traditional engineering disciplines.

The Assembly commended the leadership of COREN for their spirited effort toward the promotion of engineering practice without borders.

In conclusion, the participants commended the efforts of COREN for organizing this thought-provoking Assembly.

Signed:
Technical Committee

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