Nigeria’s Economic Woes Exacerbated By Mounting External Debt – Okowa - LEADERSHIP
Nigeria’s economic woes has been exacerbated by free-fall of the naira, rising inflation and mounting external debt Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, said yesterday at the 19th International Civil Engineering Conference and Annual General Meeting held in Asaba.
The governor who spoke at the event with the theme “Civil Infrastructure Development: Challenges and Prospects Under Pandemic Situations” regretted that national and sub-national governments had been confronted with the dilemma of dwindling revenue amid rising cost of infrastructure development.
The governor who was decorated by NICE as the 2021 Best Performing Governor in Infrastructure Development in Nigeria and also inducted as Honorary Fellow of the Institution charged engineers in the country to study constantly to update their skills in order to adapt to rising challenges in the practice of the profession.
Okowa said that initiatives on development projects had stalled across the country as government spending had been severely hampered because a large chunk of available resources was devoted to fighting and containing COVID-19.
He said that it was axiomatic that the development of road and physical infrastructure was critical to building a stronger and more resilient economy, and pointed out that the major challenge before Nigerians was the making of new policy guidelines for project design, assessment, costing and execution.
The governor commended the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) for the introduction of Engineering Regulations Monitoring (ERM) programme to monitor quality of jobs being executed while ensuring that qualified Nigerians were not discriminated against in the industry.
In an address, the chairman of the occasion and president of the Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr Babagana Mohammed, said that the place and importance of engineering profession in the physical development of infrastructure could not be over-emphasised.
He said infrastructure was the capital stock that propelled the provision of public goods in an economy as well as the provision of conducive living for the people.
In a keynote address, Mr Emeka Eze, who is former director-general of the Bureau of Public Procurement (BPP) said that infrastructure development entailed the process of planning, organising, coordinating and controlling resources to achieve a particular goal.
He stated that the government’s capacity to deliver on key infrastructure had been greatly hampered by COVID-19 and recommended Public-Private-Partnership in funding key infrastructure at all levels.
Welcoming guests to the conference earlier, national chairman of NICE, Dr Jang Tanko, thanked Governor Okowa for hosting the conference in Delta.
He said the conference was organised to enable civil engineers to meet annually to identify situations that affected societal needs and to proffer solutions to them.