Experts task govt on use of indigenous construction firms

A local firm experimenting concrete road technology in Lagos

Building and civil engineering professionals have stressed the need for government to patronise indigenous construction firms in projects.

They said it would boost local contractors’ confidence and impact on the economy positively, by improving the value chain.

Leading the call, a consulting engineer, Dr. Ombugadu Garba, said, there is need for the government to set certain category of contracts exclusively for local contractors.

He called on the authorities to encourage indigenous firms, by offering them the same support and cooperation being given to foreign companies to boost their financial capabilities.

Dr. Garba said government must realize that, if they continue to encourage foreign contractors over their Nigerian counterparts, they cannot grow the local technology and capacity.

Also, Chairman, Apapa Branch of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Sunny Ejeje said, Nigerian contractors are capable of handling big projects, but the lack of political will on the part of the Federal Government remained an obstacle.

Ejeje, a civil engineer expressed worries over government’s preference of foreign companies, like Chinese companies, which are receiving massive support from their government.

He advised indigenous firms to enter into partnership and joint venture that will allow contractors, big companies to bid for bigger contracts.

“We have engineers, we have resourceful people, we have the technical know-how to do the job for us, but if we don’t patronise ourselves; we won’t get there.

There should be a political backing to ensure certain construction works within a particular rate be given to Nigerian firms registered by Council of Registered Engineers of Nigeria (COREN).

“If you give Nigerian contractors jobs, they will get it done, provided you use the right professionals because some of our contractors will get the jobs and bring in quacks.

“It is time for Nigerian contractors to wake up, not giving us jobs is more of political reasons, but we need to do the right thing,” he added.

For the Managing Director, KAB Construction Limited, Kehinde Alex Bankole, Nigeria construction firms have come of age, and the government should place premium on them ahead of the foreign owned companies.

Bankole said construction companies are underutilized because government doesn’t believe in their capacity.

According to him, our government fails to realise that these foreign engineers that parade themselves as expatriate make use of Nigerians to achieve 90 per cent of whatever success they might be claiming to have achieved.

He said lack of patronage from government is also affecting local construction firms from expanding.

“The local companies don’t have access to funds to acquire modern equipment, which can make us deliver at an optimal level. And the government is not interested in growing us by providing support in that regard,” he added.

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