Succour has come the way of Nigerian contractors in the Ministry of Works.
The Minister for Works Mike Onolememen has said local contractors with requisite capability will handle all engineering and construction projects below N5 billion.
He has also directed all contractors handling major projects in his ministry to employ Nigerian engineering personnel.
Speaking in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital while declaring open the 45th National Engineering Conference of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) on Tuesday, the minister escribed the policy as 'a deliberate effort by the Federal Government to help build local capacity and promote local content in the industry.'
He said, 'It is also aimed at reversing the domination of the Nigerian engineering and construction industry by expatriates.
'Let me once again emphasise a well-known fact that over 80 per cent of the capital budget of all tiers of government in Nigeria is expended in the construction and engineering industry. However, in spite of the enormous opportunities that abound in this sector, the construction and engineering industry is still being dominated by foreign contractors.
'Substantial part of the major construction and engineering projects in Nigeria is executed by expatriates, thereby creating a huge capital flight. This obviously should not be the case. No nation can develop solely by relying on the expertise of foreign nationals. Indigenous technology must therefore be developed, especially in construction and complex engineering projects.”
'Continued reliance on imported technologies and professionals to build most of Nigeria's infrastructure such as roads, power, energy, water supply and transportation is simply not sustainable in the long run.'
When he visited Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed at the Government House in Ilorin, he said major federal roads in the state, particularly Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa and the Ilorin-Kabba roads would be more motorable ahead of the expected increased vehicular movement during the forthcoming yuletide celebrations.