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From the President's Desk

ACEN President

ACEN continues to grow in leaps and bounds to the extent that in the last 5 years, the number of members has almost doubled. As a professional association, it is our vision to remain the ultimate reference business association of choice for organisations providing professional engineering consultancy services in Nigeria. We are therefore poised to achieve this by building a strong membership that fosters equal opportunities, creates competitive advantage through increased visibility with strategic partners and improves the standards of consulting engineering in line with international best practice.

The Association for Consulting Engineering in Nigeria represent a pool of private, independent business-minded entrepreneurs of the highest technical skills, intellectual competence and ethical orientation, collectively committed to improving the quality of life of the Nigerian people, by providing the best of our professional expertise in an environmentally sustainable manner, to advance the nation’s technology, enhance productivity and stimulate economic activity.

 

It is the view of ACEN that engineering professionals should be part of national planning and not just as executors of such plans because any national development plan prepared without inputs from Nigerian professionals, especially well-informed groups like ours is bound to have limited success. We are all aware of the myriad of failed and abandoned projects that abound in our country with attendant waste of resources. Our dear country can no longer afford this wastage and it’s time to match our infrastructural plans to our resources with due diligence aimed of creating employment, economic prosperity and skilled manpower development.  We have been consistent over time advocating for inclusiveness of indigenous engineering professionals in our National development and the need to develop a National strategy aimed at achieving this objective.

 As engineering consultants, our concern is the implementation of a well structured and managed project-life cycle through effective schedules based on well thought out project planning. Our dear country is currently passing through a difficult phase, more or less like a rebuilding process and there is need to get things right once and for all.  We are not unmindful of current issues affecting the political and socio-economic dynamics of the world. Hence the need to ensure that our national development plan is in tune with current realities, and is environmentally sustainable.

Climate change has been a recurring decimal in the vocabulary of nations around world. The effects of carbon emission, climate change, limited resources, rapid technological change, erosion, desertification, scarcity of natural water, global competitiveness and the need for project resilience and sustainability is more apt in our environment now than ever before. We are also faced with the reality of renewable energy and its effect on oil dependent economies like ours. We must therefore be prepared to reposition our nation to cope with these variables to ensure that our Nation survives all these challenges. It is not expected that solutions to these problems should come from beyond our shores or from ordinary citizens but from those who through education and long standing professional practice have perfected their art. We must also shift from being a consumer nation to a productive nation. The will to do all that is required to make our Nation great is what we are trying to build through interactive sessions like this.

Undoubtedly, countries of the world have come to the realization that infrastructural development has a multiplier effect on national economies and have taken the issue of infrastructural spending as highest priority. On our own part, we need to let government know that infrastructural development being the highest expenditure item on our national budget, there is need to allow for measurable benefits to accrue to our citizens by their active participation. We as engineering professionals are employers of labour as well as high contributors to the Nation’s GDP and need to be considered in the scheme of things.

I am glad that the current government has put in place policy guidelines that will ensure that Nigerian Engineering professionals take a leading role in joint venture partnerships to execute infrastructural projects in the country.  We look forward to the passing of this policy paper into law to give actionable effect to these lofty efforts. The Construction industry in Nigeria is very vibrant and contributes in no small measure to the growth of the economy. The Nigerian Oil and Gas Industry Content Development Act 2010 has been of immense benefit to the Nation and experts in that industry. We therefore need to tap the potentials of engineers as quickly as possible.

One major challenge confronting the construction industry in Nigeria is the absence of a big indigenous engineering firm to break the dominance of foreign firms in government contracts. The perception is that these foreign construction companies have international experience and expertise and therefore deliver better quality work than their Nigerian counterparts.  In comparison with local construction companies these firms charge significantly more but are preferred for their track record and timely delivery. Once the local content policy is promulgated, we would be advocating for mergers and acquisitions of engineering firms to enable us meet the challenges ahead. Only then would we be taken seriously. We have seen this play out very well in the Banking industry in our Nation.

The legislation to be developed for the construction industry will not only increase the percentage of contracts awarded to Nigerian owned firms but have the added value of acquisition of technical education, job creation and skilled manpower development.

 

ACEN being the only professional body of engineering consultants must make its voice heard. We are the prime movers in the infrastructural development of this nation and our views matter. To this end, we must articulate our views based on knowledge and experience gained over the years and offer same to government and other providers of infrastructure.

Thank you.
Engr. Charles Akinyele Akindayomi FNSE
ACEN President

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