• As local content development takes priority
•It seeks economic self-reliance, end to products, expertise importation
If implemented to the letter, the Federal Government’s Executive Order No. 5, will not only boost Nigerians’ economic prosperity and self-reliance, but also bring an end to excessive finished products and expertise importation into Nigeria, the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has said.
Specifically targeted to be reduced to the barest minimum are the use of expatriates for the execution of key national projects; the importation of refined petroleum products, food, essential commodities and a host of many others.The move is meant to give opportunity to indigenous professionals and firms to prove their worth and provide these goods and services.
Speaking in Lagos at a press conference with journalists, Onu explained that “implementation of the Executive Order, will create wealth, reduce poverty, and provide employment for our teaming youths.”
The Minister, who said that he was in Lagos as part of his stakeholder engagement on the Executive Order, which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari in early February this year, added: “Once this Executive Order is fully implemented, Nigeria will never be the same again.”
To underscore the importance of the Executive Order, and what it is meant to achieve, he told his audience, which also included captains of industry especially the organised private sector, heads of ministries, departments and agencies that “The rise of Nigeria to greatness and the happiness of Nigerians will be guaranteed.”
Onu, who became poetic, further asserted: “Never again will Nigeria continue to import from other countries, many of her needs. Never again will Nigeria continue to employ foreign experts, to do work that Nigerians can do. Never again will Nigeria continue to use foreign companies and firms to execute important projects, without having Nigerians to understudy them. Never again will Nigeria not be able to feed herself. Never again will Nigeria continue to export crude oil and import refined petroleum products. Never again will Nigeria continue to export wood, only to import toothpicks. Never again will Nigeria with cash in her hands, look for essential equipment for her military, yet not having a single country willing to sell.
“From now on, Nigeria will be self-reliant, producing locally many of the things she needs and exporting the excess to other countries. From now on, Nigeria will be able to add value, by using science, technology and innovation to convert her huge and abundant resources to products and services needed at home thereby creating more wealth, more jobs and reducing poverty. From now on, Nigeria will solve the problem of removing the missing link in her search for greatness, by effectively utilising science, technology and innovation in the important task of nation-building.”
Acknowledging that these tasks will not be accomplished immediately, the Minister envisaged if implementation commenced immediately, the economy will take a turn for the better in the next 10 to 20 years, when “Nigerian companies and firms will be competing with the very best in other parts of the world for projects and contracts in international tenders.”
Earlier in his remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry, Bitrus Bako Nabasu, while rallying support for the implementation of the Order, urged Nigerians to take advantage of the inherent opportunities.He said this is particularly so, as the initiative will increase local content development in public procurement, while also ensuring Nigeria’s rapid technological development in the areas of maintenance, design, and reproduction of technology infrastructure among many others.
The Director General/Chief Executive Officer, Federal Institute of Industrial Research, Oshodi (FIIRO), Prof. (Mrs) Gloria Elemo, host of the conference, noted that the implementation of the Executive Order will be an added impetus to the foremost research centre especially in the commercialisation of research findings.This is particularly so because FIIRO is a major technology provider to small firms and constantly engaged in research and development activities.