The Nigerian Society of Engineer has called on the Federal Government to come up with a sound national policy that could trigger in industrialization. The current policy it’s observed lacks the participatory approach needed for industrialization to take place.
This concern was raised in Kaduna during its monthly meeting held at the state secretariat, Kawo Kaduna.
The presenter, Engineer Sabo Ibrahim Sodangi, a onetime National President of the Nigerian Society of Chemical Engineers had in his paper presentation, Titled: Technology Acquisition: the route to true industrialization emphasized on the need for participatory approach in our policies. A nation he said must have a very sound national policy for it to grow.
According to him, If Nigeria must industrialize, unless we have a policy that clearly states how both the human and natural resources are utilized.
“No nation can develop without deliberate and sustained efforts at industrialising its economy such that it consumes mostly what it produces and produces what it mainly consumes. This can only be achieved if it uses its human and natural resources to set up, by itself, the industries it needs to lift the majority of its people out of poverty in the shortest possible time at the lowest possible cost”.
He gave example of countries like India and China who used participatory approach to achieve their industrialization.
“The participatory approach used by countries like India and China is what led to their rapid development”.
The presenter frowned at over dependent on foreign partners at the expense of capable indigenous engineers saying, for any nation to establish its own industries; it requires the formulation of serious and enduring policy of technology and technical know-how acquisition in all fields of engineering. Unless something drastic is done nationally, Nigeria he said will never be industrialised.
“The current industrialisation policy in both the public and private sectors revolves around turn-key concept with its total and blind reliance on so-called technical partners to ensure timely and satisfactory execution of industrial projects. We learn nothing about how to set up plants from this project. Nigeria should ‘learn to fish’ rather than relying on the ‘take fish’ approach”. He said.
Engineer Sodangi maintained that Nigeria is richer than America but that God has put people who cannot make good use of resources in the country.
Citing the case of PAN and the Ajaokuta Iron and Steel industry which he said has facilities that can stand on its own and yet, they are underutilized. All the nation needs to do is to come up with a sound policy that would change the trend of event.
Lamenting, he said seventy-five percent of privatized industries are moribund due to privatization.
The lack of involvement of Nigerian Engineers in the turn-around maintenance going on in the oil and gas industry calls for concern. He added.
“In fact, in the power and oil sectors, we are still relying on the so-called technical partners to conduct simple turn-around maintenance on our power plants and refineries.
We need to stop turn-key projects and start building our expertise by adopting the participatory approach in all our industrialisation projects. This requires us to train our design Engineers while boosting our workshop facilities to enable us fabricate the M & Es’ needed at all the stages of the program for setting up industries”.
Sodangi challenged the society of engineers to take up its role by not only producing design engineers but also take it as its responsibility to push forward proposals for their training in order to be abreast with new technology.
Speaking, the Chairman of the Branch, Engr. Abdulrasheed Babalola aligning with the presenter’s top provoking paper tasked Nigerian engineers to bring to bear their expertise by being committed and dedicated to their jobs.
He argued that most of the contracts awarded to foreign partners are at the detriment of indigenous engineers who he said are capable enough to handle most of the jobs.
The problem he identified to be that of lack of integrity and that until this is addressed, there would be no way forward.
Engr. Babalola while sharing his Ghana experience during a conference brought some issues to light.
“Until we start respecting our ambition, we start respecting the technology, the people that learnt the art of engineering that is when we are going to grow.
Most of the presentations in Ghana were centred on power. I wanted to know how Power Company of Nigeria could be a progressive Cooperation. What they did was to sanitize the system. They cleared the bad weeds which we have not been able to do. They called a lot of countries to partner with them on power. They scrutinized them on the basis of what they had to offer and now Ghana is over generating. They have sustainable light. I must add that in Ghana, there is law against by-passing of NEPA. There is ‘pay as you go’ and that is why Ghana is working.
“ I must state that Nigeria is going nowhere without engineering. It is not that we are not having good engineers. We have good engineers but we don’t have integrity. When we are given work to do and somebody says, ‘give me kick-back, we are ready to give’. Ghana would not give. Their engineers have integrity. They would tell the person, please stay with your job. This is what we are doing that is not helping us and at the end of the day, we end up with sub-standard job. Mark you; these are same people that would blacklist us.
So, the day engineer would say no! to kick-back, the day engineer would hold on to his integrity, and stand tall and say, I want people to know that l am the one that constructed this thing, that is when we would be working”. He ended