The Nigerian Society of Engineers, on Monday, said the inconsistency of government policies on foreign exchange regimes, hostile import licensing policies, unavailability of constant power, and rising cost of alternate energy supply are reasons for the continuing decline in the nation’s manufacturing space.
This was as the society lamented that successive governments had not paid utmost attention to the nation’s technological advancement by involving engineers.
The NSE President, Tasiu Gidari-Wudil, stated this at a pre-event press conference announcing its annual national engineering conference and general meeting themed, ‘Re-engineering the Manufacturing Sector for Competitiveness and Enhanced Economic Growth’ in Abuja.
Lamenting the current situation, the NSE president said, ” Nigerian engineers are concerned about the gradual erosion of the little record Nigeria had on her non-oil export performance in the 60s and 70s.
“Even though the non-oil export performance record was mainly based on agricultural produce, there were days of textile, coal, tyre, hides and skin and many other products exported from Nigeria. The rubber plantations in the South have disappeared, the coal mines in the East are no more, the textile hubs in Kaduna and Kano are moribund, and so is the tannery industry across the North.
“The reasons for the gloomy situation are not far-fetched, they range from unfavourable and inconsistent government policies such as unstable foreign exchange regime, hostile import licensing policies, unavailability of constant power, the rising cost of alternate energy supply, amongst many others.”
He added that these inconsistencies led to the mortality of, “Many international conglomerates that bolstered the manufacturing sector of Nigeria’s economy at some points have folded up their businesses and left. We can name them – Volkswagen, Michelin, Procter & Gamble, ISO Glass, Universal Steel, Universal Rubber, NASCO fibre, GSK Pharma, Tower Aluminium, etc. Many more may go.
“The saddest narrative in the manufacturing trajectory of Nigeria is the gigantic Ajaokuta Steel Manufacturing Company, a government-owned concern that never rolled out one length of steel since it was built and has been left to rot away.”
According to him, the NSE has the best engineers in Nigeria, so the Society needs to be fully involved in solving issues in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors.
Speaking also on the adoption of concrete technology, Wudil stated that society has efficiently studied the advantages and disadvantages of both methods and will make its position known on Monday during the conference.
The PUNCH reports that dignitaries expected at the opening ceremony on Tuesday, November 28, 2023, include President Bola Tinubu, who will be the Distinguished Guest of Honour and the Vice President, Sen. Kashim Shettima, who will be receiving the Honorary Fellowship award of the Society.
Others include the Minister, Federal Capital Territory, Nyesom Wike; Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Abubakar Momoh; Minister of Water Resources, Joseph Utsev, amongst others.