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Recession: Engineers’ forum seeks investment in infrastructure, solid minerals, agriculture as way out

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By Kingsley Adegboye

THE American Society of Civil Engineers ASCE, at the weekend threw its weight behind the call for the revamping of the national economy which is currently going through crises, as an interventionist strategy to steer the country out of these economic crises.

The Society which held a one-day seminar with the theme “Revamping the Nigerian Economy: A Look at Investment in Infrastructure, Solid Minerals and Agriculture” in Lagos, said timely investment in these sectors is the only way out of the nation’s economic challenges.

The chairman of the event, Babagana Mohammed, an engineer and Vice President, Nigerian Society of Engineers NSE, while commending the organisers of the seminar, particularly on the choice of the theme, said the one-day seminar couldn’t have come at a better, pointing out that the option of investing in infrastructure and other sectors as canvassed by ASCE, would revamp the Nigerian economy and address other sundry issues associated with the recession.

The Vice President of NSE, who noted that the collaboration between NSE and ASCE is a plus for the engineering profession in the country, however, lamented that “In engineering, we have not got it right in this country. Honestly if you ask me why, I will tell you I don’t know why it is so. The engineers in government are not helping the engineers outside government.

“The situation is not the same with law profession. Lawyers help themselves. So, my appeal today is that engineers in government must help those outside government with jobs because so many engineers are jobless outside”, Mohammed said.

In his address, the President of ASCE, Blessing Tega Oboh, said the choice of the theme for the seminar was in response to the ongoing national economic crises in order to encourage policy makers in government and industry players into decisive actions to steer the economy out of recession.

According to Tega Oboh who is a fellow of the Nigerian Institute of Civil Engineers, “For over four decades, the Nigerian economy has mostly depended on proceeds from the sale of crude oil. This is at the expense of other sectors such as solid minerals and agriculture that hitherto, contributed significantly to the economy of Nigeria.

“Another area that will be looked into today is the concession of public infrastructure as it is widely agreed that public private partnership PPP, for infrastructure development or infrastructure concessions hold the key to bridging the abysmal infrastructure deficit in Nigeria as well as creating employment opportunities and contribution to poverty alleviation”, ASCE president stated.

In his submission, Mr. Vincent Nwani, Director, Research and Advocacy, Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who disclosed that Nigeria has 43 minerals located across the country, said the nation has large potentials in solid minerals, pointing out that if the country gets the problems of solid minerals right, the dependence on imports will be reduced.

Nwani said legal and institutional frameworks must favour the development of solid minerals in the country, adding that ease of doing business must be in place, while investors friendly environment must be created to attract investors to solid minerals sector.

According to him, “Without development of solid minerals, we are going nowhere in this country”.

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