Engineers seek reform to enhance infrastructural growth

Kano Electric station

Disturbed by inadequacies in the power sector, practicing engineers in the country have harped on the need for proper implementation of the reform programmes to promote efficiency and reliability of services for the Nigerians

Past chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers, (NSE), Ikeja branch, Michael Awe said if the reforms are well tailored, it will encourage private sector participation and investment in the electricity industry.

Speaking at the 2019 annual business luncheon entitled, “Dynamism in the power sector: Opportunities and challenges”, which held in Lagos, he observed that evidences could be seen in the form of better telecommunication services in the country brought about by private sector participation in the provision of GSM services.

Awe identified critical challenges in the industry to include, poor utilization of existing assets and deferred maintenance, delays in the implementation of new projects, lack of sustained and practicable relationship between government and other stakeholders particularly the JV international oil companies and the independent Power Producers (IPP). He said other bottlenecks in the sector are; inadequate power evacuation at newly completed and fictionalized power plants, erratic supply of gas domestic resources for power generation, the power grid is yet to cover many parts of the country and vulnerable as well as overloaded existing transmission system.

Awe who is also the managing director of MCBEY Nigeria Ltd explained that a competitive electricity market is capable of bringing about reduction in the tariff paid by consumers. According to him, in as much as consumers need efficient and effective services, it must be affordable.

He stressed the need for transfer of technical manpower in the industry through transfer of technology to Nigerians by foreign operators adding that it will go a long way in bridging the gap between the developed and developing nations in technology advancement. For him, promotion of research especially those tailored toward other sources of energy such as, wind, solar and biomass would make the power industry more vibrant.

Expounding on the issue, a former vice president of NSE, Gidari-Wudil Tasiu Saad, said if there were no investment in power and infrastructure, there wouldn’t be recovery of investment. He therefore advised professionals to explore the opportunity and offer solutions to the problem.

In a speech, the Chairman of the Ikeja Branch of NSE, Mrs. Olufunmilade Akingbagbohun said the forum was organized to bring all stakeholders in the industry together and deliberate on the challenges in the sector as well as the way forward.

According to her, it was also an opportunity for engineers in the country to re-examine exiting opportunities with a view to invest in the power industry.

She noted that the economic space is shrinking and businesses are facing greater threats, hence, it behooves on practitioners to respond quickly to the changing dynamics of the profession in the state and national levels and provide professional support for the nation’s infrastructural development.

Akingbagboun told the gathering that the focus of her administration is to enhance and empower engineers and the profession in terms of capacity building, entrepreneurship training, mentorship and internship.
“We have to train Nigerians to be good engineers; we can’t be importing engineers from aboard while we have thousands of professional engineers in our country”.

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