By Obas Esiedesa
The Director General, National Office for Technology Acquisition and Promotion (NOTAP), Dr. DanAzumi Ibrahim says the agency has registered about 7,000 Nigerian professionals in its data base as part of effort to implement the Executive Order 5 which came into effect in April, 2018.
The Order which was signed by President Muhammadu Buhari aims to improve local content in the execution of public funded projects. The Order directs government ministries, departments and agencies to give priority to indigenous professional or companies in the award of government funded projects particularly in the execution of science, engineering and technology contracts.
Dr. Ibrahim at press briefing Abuja explained that to implement the order, the agency was mandated to keep a data base of Nigerian professionals in the field of engineering, technology and innovation.
He disclosed that so far about 7,000 Nigerians have been registered, drawn mainly from engineers registered by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN).
He said NOTAP is in discussion with other professional bodies in the country to add more Nigerian professionals into the data base.
He explained that the data base would enable government MDAs to easily identify Nigerians with requisite skills to execute projects in the country.
“The Executive Order 5 is intended to ensure we improve on our local content in terms of any contract on science, technology and innovation through the use of our professionals.
“Because regulate the inflow of technology into this country, we have seen areas where Nigeria spends a lot of money. We solely rely on technologies from outside the country to power the Nigerian economy, in the manufacturing sector, construction sector, ICT sector.
“There is no nation that will develop and become economically sustainable if it has to continue to solely rely on the efforts of other people to run its economy. It is not sustainable”, he explained.
He described the Executive Order 5 as a revolution, noting that is designed to ensure that “we improve on local content in both natural and human resources.
“Gone should be the days when all major contracts in the country is handled by foreigners while our professional who have the knowledge, skills are not contributing towards the economic development of the country”.
Dr. Ibrahim explained further that in situations where Nigerian companies do not have the all the required competences for any given project, “Nigerian companies are allowed to go into technical partnerships with companies outside the country so that they jointly execute the contract.
“The idea is that if you involve the Nigerian company with their technical partners outside the country to execute a project, by the time the technical partners leave, the will not leave with the technology because the technology would be absolved by Nigerians.
“In the Executive Order, we are expected that any contract agreement either in private partnership or between individual companies in Nigeria and abroad must be registered by NOTAP, which has been our traditional job”, he added.
While explaining that no budgetary provision has been made for the hosting of the data base, he expressed the hope that the Budget Office and the National Assembly would approve a budget for it in 2021.