Power-TransformersThe Nigerian Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (NIEEE), has called on the Federal Government to extend the local content policy to the power sector to enhance sustainable development.

Its President, Engr. Adekunle Makinde who spoke at the Institution’s 9th International Conference and Exhibition on Power and Telecommunications (ICEPT) held in Onitsha, Anambra State with “Power and Communications: Drivers of Sustainable Economic Growth,” as its theme said over the years, the power sector had suffered lack of sustainable development.

He said the policy should also be extended to the telecommunications industry which has witnessed rapid growth since the sector was liberalised more than a decade ago.

He said: “In spite of government’s efforts, the sectors have remained almost completely in the hands of foreign engineering firms. Local content incentives need to be stretched into these other industries in order to create an environment for the sustainable development of our economy. It is a well known fact that when any sector is in the hands of foreigners, they will work for their own interests first, whereas when such industries are controlled by Nigerians, they work for the interest of the nation.

“We keep crying that there are no jobs for our children and yet we have foreigners trooping into the country to take up work that our people can do. But can you blame them if they are the ones bringing their funds. I must commend the investors in the power industry for seeing the process through. At least, this time around Nigerian investors took the lead unlike during the telecoms bid round, where Nigerian investors played second fiddle. At least, we are learning from the mistakes of the past.”

According to him, sustainability is an integral part of the engineering profession. “The twin-problems of climate change and the rising population numbers bring an added importance to issues of sustainability. In particular our total reliance on oil and gas does not portend good tidings for the future generations. In diversifying the economy, private sector funding has become imperative,” he added.

Government, he noted, has taken the lead and the private sector needs to fall in line by taking a long term view because sustainability is a long term phenomenon.

He said: “No engineering project is sustainable at the current interest rate regime. Human resources cannot be developed overnight. Those countries we seek to compete with have a long term approach to business and that is why we are often times left with the crumbs. “Thinking long term means that we need to start with a robust educational system, churning out world class engineering graduates. It means we benchmark against the world best and forget the idea of giant of Africa syndrome.”


[The Nation]