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Stakeholders seek increased funding, laws on infrastructure development

Stakeholders seek increased funding, laws on infrastructure development

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Feyisayo Popoola

The Minister of Works, Power, and Housing, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, has emphasised the need for increased funding and laws to correct infrastructural deficit in the country.

According to him, infrastructural development is impossible without adequate funding, adding that the government and the private sector have a duty to play in that regard.

Fashola, who was represented by his Technical Special Adviser, Mr. Femi Hamzat, at the investiture of Mr. Edward Atumonyogo as the 19th President of the Nigerian Institution of Structural Engineers in Lagos, described infrastructural development as the most important thing in the country as of today.

He said the government should give room for young engineers to grow by patronising them, instead of seeking international expertise all the time.

He likened the Federal Ministry of Works, Power, and Housing to a teaching hospital, adding that it had the best of experts and engineers-in-training.

Fashola said instead of seeking international expertise all the time, the government should engage international and local firms in partnership to strengthen technical expertise and exchange of ideas.

He described infrastructure as the only guarantee to the economic development of Nigeria.

The President, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Mr. Olugbenga Mokuolu, advised engineers to network with other professionals in other fields so as to form strong alliances and widen their resource base.

He stated that Nigeria had a problem of ‘talk without action’, adding that this had to be corrected.

According to him, it is the duty of engineers to prove to the government and citizens that they are capable by acquiring skills relevant in the value chain.

Mokuolu said the number of patients with stroke was more in the engineering profession than any other, which could be traced to much work and lack of recognition.

Mokuolu urged all engineers to work on building their intellect and expertise to make themselves relevant, adding that the focus should not be on promoting themselves, but infrastructural development.

According to a former Chief Executive Officer, Nigerian Communications Commission, Mr. Ernest Ndukwe, the lack of investment in the country’s infrastructure is a clog in the wheel of economic progress.

He said it was evident that so many items were competing for government revenue in the budget, adding that private sector funding should be encouraged, else the state of infrastructure would either deteriorate or be stagnant.

Speaking on the theme, ‘Policies, Politics and the Professionals in the Built Environment’, Ndukwe said the government should prioritise law-making to ward off quacks from attempting to do the work of engineers.

He stated that with the right infrastructure, Nigeria, being at the centre of the world, could be made the hub of anything.

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