Bayelsa State government has stressed the need for government and other stakeholders to accord more recognition to indigenous engineers in the execution of projects.The deputy governor, RAdm Gboribiogha Jonah (rtd.), stated this yesterday when a delegation of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (NIMECHE), led by the national chairman, Robinson Ejilah, paid him a visit in Government House, Yenagoa.
Jonah, who expressed dissatisfaction with the current level of dependence on expatriates, noted that it would be difficult for Nigeria to make appreciable progress in sustainable development “if local production is not encouraged.”He urged the federal government to revisit the Vision 20:2020 National Development Policy Document, with a view to promoting the use of Nigerian engineers in fixing needs in the power, construction and manufacturing sectors of the economy.
Calling on engineers to actively participate in national politics, he enjoined them to be bold in pursuing issues that border on the development of their profession.While expressing confidence in the ability of Nigerian engineers to compete favourably with their counterparts anywhere in the world under normal circumstances, the deputy governor also stressed the need for them to update their competence through continuous training.
Noting with delight the institution’s choice of Bayelsa for its annual conference, he assured that the state government would communicate its role to the leadership in due time.
His words: “Bayelsa needs this kind of gathering more than others. It is a young state that is in a hurry to develop. Our infrastructure is still rudimentary, but the governor has done so much to lay the necessary foundation from where we can build up.
“Engineering is a complex and respected profession. But in our country, I don’t think we have realised the value of our engineers. We do not know our capacity and the extent of possibilities within the country.”
“There is quite a lot happening in this country that we need to study and take advantage of. Mechanical engineers have a lot to contribute to power generation. The most vexing problem in this country, as most of us would identify, is energy, which I believe can be handled by our own engineers.
“I have said time and again that engineers can save this country because if we can produce a particular object at, for instance, the cost of N1.2 billion in-country, and if the same object is produced outside the country at N1 billion, I argue that the one produced in Nigeria, comparatively speaking, is still cheaper because the N1 billion you pay out will contribute to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of another country.”