From John Silas, Lagos
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr. Ogbonnaya Onu, has declared that the Presidential Executive Oder No.5 would create wealth and eradicate poverty in the country.
Onu spoke on Monday at the press conference on the Presidential Executive Order No. 5 at the Federal Institute of Research Oshodi (FIIRO) in in Lagos.
He stated that the present Economic Development Plan, the National Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (NERGP) 2017-2020, had recognised that Science and Technology would drive productivity and economic activities in all sectors, adding that for the first time, science, technology and innovation had been recognised as occupying the central place for all economic activities in all sectors.
The minister said: “I believe that this is a major achievement for our country. 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 Muhammadu 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,” Onu said.
Onu stated that the Buhari administration expects that in the next 10-20 years, Nigerian companies would be competing with the 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, he stated.
He reiterated that the Executive Order enjoined “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.
All expatriates 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.
The Director-General of FIRO, Prof. Gloria Elemo, said that exactly 33 years, five months and five days ago, President Buhari visited this institute saying that “when the economy of Nigeria picks up, funds shall be made available to improve facilities for research, which means he has set a vision for science and technology which has taken science and technology to another level. I thank him for living his vision.”