Posted by News Express | 9 July 2018 | 3,189 times
Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has described the recently signed Presidential Executive Order No. 5, for Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts, Science, Engineering and Technology as revolutionary. It will “certainly trigger a silent revolution in how we think as a people and how we regard science and technology as the missing link in our quest to become a truly great nation,” the Minister said late on Monday morning during a World Press Conference on the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 held at the FIIRO Auditorium.
Below is the text of Onu’s speech: “I am very happy to stand before you to deliver this address on the revolutionary Presidential Executive Order No. 5, for Planning and Execution of Projects, Promotion of Nigerian Content in Contracts, Science, Engineering and Technology. I specially thank all our guests who honoured our invitation to attend this important event.
“In the history of any nation, there comes a time when critical decisions have to be taken in order to quickly move to a new level of development of the nation, so as to more effectively protect and secure the citizens. Most distinguished ladies and gentlemen, the moment we have long been waiting for with great expectation has come. The Executive Order No. 5 could not have come at a better time than now. In the history of our country, never has any administration shown such commitment to strengthen the role of science, technology and innovation in nation building.
“It is important to stress that the present administration is determined to create an enabling environment, to mobilise local investment and attract more foreign direct investment into the country and at the same time empower Nigerians, both young and old, to participate actively in the management of the economy. The present administration has recognised the use of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) as well as the effective participation of our young people, professionals, and indigenous contractors and consultants as indispensible, if our dear country, Nigeria, is to become a truly great nation.
“The present Economic Development Plan, the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) 2017-2020, has recognised that Science and Technology will drive productivity and economic activity in all sectors. For the first time, science, technology and innovation has been recognised as occupying the central place for all economic activities in all sectors in the country.
“I believe that this is a major achievement for our nation. What it means is that there is now a significant change in the mental attitude that we have towards science and technology. People now recognise the central role of science and technology in the economic development of our country.
“The Executive Order No. 5 is therefore the revolutionary instrument which the Buhari administration has deployed to redirect our economy, from its old, unsustainable path of being resource-based to a new, sustainable and inclusive path of being a knowledge and innovation driven economy. The Executive Order No. 5 is meant to promote patriotism, love of country and economic nationalism as potent tools for a new social engineering of our dear country. It will certainly trigger a silent revolution in how we think as a people and how we regard science and technology as the missing link in our quest to become a truly great nation.
“The Buhari Administration expects that in the next 10-20 years, Nigerian companies and firms will be competing with the very best in other parts of the world for projects and contracts in international tenders. The Executive Order No. 5 is made up of 18 sections covering various headings: Preferences; Accreditation; Contract Award; Language of Contract; Capacity Development; Disqualification from Contract Award; Database of Experts in Nigeria; Expatriate Quota; Local Material; Tax Incentives; Punishment for violation of Executive Order; Presidential Monitoring and Evaluation Council; Member of the Council; Review of Order; Miscellaneous; Application; Definitions of Terms; Effective Date of the Order.
“The Executive Order enjoins procuring entities to give preference to Nigerian companies and firms when awarding contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act, 2007. Hence Nigerian companies and indigenous firms have the opportunity more than ever before to participate in national development through the award of contracts and also to serve as consultants. The age of a firm will not be important, so long as it is legally registered and possesses requisite qualification, competence and experience in the management and execution of such contracts.
“The Federal Government will henceforth place premium on the use of indigenous professionals and firms in the design and execution of projects involving national security. Foreign experts will only be engaged on condition that such expertise is not available in Nigeria. Even when they are engaged, Nigerian professionals would be attached to understudy them. Also all MDAs are to take steps to encourage indigenous professionals in the Diaspora to return home and use their expertise to develop Nigeria.
“Based on this, the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology, shall establish Centers for acquisition of technology in the six geopolitical zones of the country. This will be used for the promotion of technology utilisation, strengthening of technology management capability and information system.
“All foreign experts working in Nigeria have to be certified by the appropriate regulatory bodies. In such cases, efforts will be intensified to train Nigerians to have the same skills. No expatriate quota will be granted unless such skills are completely unavailable. In some special cases, foreign experts will be admitted into Nigeria under a special Immigration classification so as to share knowledge with Nigerians.
“Goods that are consumed in very large quantities will have to be manufactured locally, in the shortest possible time. Designs for all contracts, programs and projects will be in English language before such contracts are signed. The software for mapping solid minerals in Nigeria must be in English language. This Federal Executive Order No. 5 may be reviewed every five years by the Federal Executive Council (FEC).
“A Presidential Monitoring Evaluation Council with Mr. President as the Chairman will oversee the general implementation of the Executive Order. The Secretariat will be domiciled in the Federal Ministry of Science and Technology.
“The Federal Ministry of Science and Technology will do its utmost to ensure that both the letter and spirit of the Executive Order No. 5 are fully implemented. It is important to always remember that implementation of the Executive Order, will create wealth, reduce poverty and provide employment for our teaming youths. Once this Executive Order is fully implemented, Nigeria will never be the same again. The rise of Nigeria to greatness and the happiness of Nigerians will be guaranteed.
“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. By implementing this Executive Order No. 5, Nigeria will become a truly great nation, accomplishing great things, stable, united, peaceful, prosperous, secure at home, respected by others and ultimately emerge as a major force in the global arena, for the search of peace and prosperity in the world.
“So long as science, technology, and innovation are effectively deployed in nation building, the future of Nigeria is very bright. Nigeria will then be the nation on the mountain top, whose light will shine for all to see.”
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