Engage local engineers to halt capital flight, NSE tells govt

Governments at all levels in the country have been advised by the immediate past Lagos State Chapter Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Dr Musliu Agoro, to invest in local engineers in order to discourage capital flight.

Agoro made the appeal at the society’s 2020 Annual General Meeting/Public Lecture/Award and Induction ceremony today in Lagos.

The event is one of the activities lined up for the celebration of its Engineering Week.

The theme of the lecture is: “The Role of Engineering Professionals in Rebuilding Nigeria’s Economy Post-COVID-19.

According to Agoro, there is the urgent need for governments, especially at the federal level to strive to enforce local content on major engineering projects in the country as professionals in the sector are qualified.

“All aspects of jobs that we have expertise on should not be given to foreigners because we are not doing any good to our economy.

“Our people must invest and have trust in Nigerian engineers and patronise us. If you do this, the money remains here but if you chose to patronise the foreign ones, there is of course, capital flight.

“This is discouraging and need to be looked into. We have so many capable engineers but lack of patronage is a challenge.

“We can do it. Let them just give us a trial. We have a huge number of unemployed youth in the country who could also benefit from major projects, such as the rail project, if the job is given to local engineers,’’ he said.

The chairman, however, said that there was also an urgent need for the country’s engineering professionals to equally assist the government in promoting safety practices among the populace.

According to him, this will help in stopping the further spread of the current global health challenge.

“The NSE is expected to rise to the challenge occasioned by the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

“The pandemic has brought about new ways of doing things. Our government has been forced to introduce containment measures such as lockdown, which has adversely affected socio-economic activities,’’ he said.

Agoro urged the Federal Government to release the COVID-19 bail-out grant to state governments to strengthen the war against the pandemic and to increase the capacity of relevant health institutions to train health workers

The chairman also implored government to enjoin the health institutions to procure locally essential items such as Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), as well as automatic and manual hand washing machines among others.

Mr Titi Omo-Ettu, an engineer, a telecommunication consultant and one of the guest speakers, said that the COVID-19 was symbolic and a mere reminder to all that there was a job to do and a huge gap to fill.

He argued that the pandemic did not destroy the country’s economy, noting that the economy had long been destroyed before COVID-19 emergence.

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