Home Business Government should Patronise Nigerian Civil Engineers – NSE

Government should Patronise Nigerian Civil Engineers – NSE

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By Our Reporter

The Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, has called on government at all levels to award contracts for construction of critical infrastructures to home-grown civil engineers, saying they have capacity to handle any category of construction works.

Chairman, Nigerian Society of Engineers, Cross River State branch, Dr. Desmond Ewa who said this during his visit the part of Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road handled by an indigenous company, SERMATEC, expressed satisfaction with the progress of work so far undertaken by the firm.

Describing the performance of the company as a vindication of the NSE’s campaign for the utilization of local content, Dr Ewa said “We are here as a professional body to look at the progress of work on the project as part of our oversight professional functions. We were at this stretch one-year ago when SERMATEC started the work.

“Back then, we examined the drawings, the designs and were satisfied. We also promised to return to the site from time to time. I can satisfactorily tell Nigerians that SERMATEC has vindicated us as an indigenous company performing well.”

According to him, “the standard, the compliance with the specifications for the dualisation of the Calabar-Itu-Ikot Ekpene road is topnotch. We also went to the laboratory at the site yard and are satisfied with the results.”

Continuing, the chairman averred that the progress made by the Nigerian owned company was a testimony to the fact that home-grown engineers given the appropriate environment and opportunity would perform better that their foreign counterpart.

Mr. Ewa further listed the benefits of awarding capital contractual projects to Nigerian firms to include creating employment for professional, technicians and lot more; reduces capital flight and generally growing the economic profile of the State and nation.

“There are no expatriates here; the workers are Nigerians and 90 percent of the engineers here are from Cross River State. Secondly, the company is spending the Naira, which is our currency. The firm is not paid in any foreign currency like the other two companies working along other axis of this road,” he stressed.

Corroborating, representative of the Federal Ministry of Works, Mr. Patrick Nkanu said the level of work done so far was satisfactory, explaining “from the tour, we can comfortably say that the company has accomplished 35 percent of the project and construction is still ongoing.”

On funding, Nkanu stated, “as a ministry, we keep monitoring what they are doing and report to the stakeholders accordingly. But I must say, this project is being funded and we do not see any problem with funding. When it comes to the issues of compensation, there is a policy in the ministry, which stipulates that placed compensation in the purview of state government. The ministry and major stakeholders are focused on resolving the matter with the communities.

In a brief remark, the SERMATEC site engineer, Mr. Joe Ukpata said that the company was delighted to take the NSE round the project site, which is a public infrastructure financed with tax payers money.

“The achievements made so far were accomplished by Nigerian engineers. This project has provided opportunities for us to showcase ourselves. We are excited and passionate to ensure that we do not disappoint our people. In fact, there are more than 300 employees on this project as we speak, the number would increase beyond 500 when we get to the dry season,” Ukpata said.

On the progress made, the site agent stated, “we have completed two bridges of 260 kilometres and 60 kilometres, piling is 100 percent done, and have started building the pile caps for others, the central median and other concrete works are ongoing.  

“It is important to note that in terms of work progress, we are ahead of the time allotted. We have utilized less than 35 percent of the time. With the right facilitation, we will deliver on time. Some of the very difficult aspects of the road have been addressed. We are incidentally working in a very difficult terrain and we have tackled those challenges.

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