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How executive order five enables NAF, Tranos potential partnership

How executive order five enables NAF, Tranos potential partnership

Two years ago, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law an executive order that enables the promotion of Nigerian content for science, engineering and technology components in public procurement. Stephen Onyekwelu shows how the Nigerian Air Force and Tranos, an indigenous engineering and manufacturing company are taking advantage of this legal framework.

A delegation from the Nigerian Air Force has visited the headquarters of Tranos, an indigenous engineering and manufacturing company in Ikeja, Lagos to explore the possibilities of a partnership, leveraging on executive order five.

Executive order five became law in February 2018 and was designed to improve Nigerian content in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components.

Nigerian engineers have repeatedly said that engineering and manufacturing are synonymous with the development of nations. Sustainably developed countries invest heavily in their engineering and manufacturing sectors.

So, the executive order five forms part of the Federal Government’s efforts to promote the application of science, technology and innovation within Nigeria. It is a step towards achieving Africa’s most populous country’s developmental goal of improving all sectors of the economy.

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Desirous to build on the provisions of this executive order, the Nigerian Air Force led a high-level delegation to Tranos. At the head of the delegation A. Olabisi, an Air Vice Marshall sought to explore how both organisations can work together to design and manufacture equipment that will be most useful to the Force. This is based on the technological and innovative track record of Tranos in the last few years as well in terms of reliable standards and capacity.

The selection of Tranos for this visit and partnership is connected to Chief of Air Staff of the Nigerian Air Force’s belief that the indigenous company has the capacity, offers premium service as well as research and development. This builds Nigerian capacity and reduces the reliance of the Air Force on foreign original equipment manufacturers (OEMS).

“Partnership is a huge component of what we do at the Nigerian Air Force and the NAF leadership is looking at ways of sourcing some of the inputs of its operations locally,” said Olabisi who is also the commandant of Air Force Institute of Technology.

Tranos offers a broad range of engineering and technology products such as enclosures, cable management systems, racks and storage systems, LV & MV electrical control panels and switchgear. Others are special generators for specialised applications; electrical and mechanical process skids and housings, switches and sockets. Tranos also offers fabrication, installation and maintenance services for the most critical projects requiring precision and professional finishing.

“For us as a company, we like partnerships because that is how you grow and we think that this is a very good partnership to have and from what we have seen, we noticed that the Air Force values technology,” Jude Abalaka, managing director at Tranos said.

Abalaka explained that Tranos is a technology company which has engineering and manufacturing capabilities and focuses on delivering innovative solutions. Based on NAF’S interest in partnering with Tranos, the company will look out for challenges that the Nigerian Air Force is facing and seek to develop solutions in the mechanical and electrical areas.

The delegation inspected Tranos’ facilities; from the engineering design to the cutting, welding, powder coating and assembly sections and noted the highly trained staff and the semi-automated facility which ensures consistency in the finished product.

Ibikunle Daramola, an air commodore and director of public relations and information at the Nigerian Air Force said that “the visit was at the instance of Air Marshal Sadiq Abubakar, the Chief of Air Staff,” and that the Nigerian Air Force is looking inwards to develop partnerships that will produce cost-effective local solutions that paves a way for realising self-sufficiency both for the Nigerian Air Force and the Nigerian nation.

It is worth noting that engineering education in Nigeria faces many obstacles. Some engineering graduates have acquired skills in the use of computeraided design (CAD) software by watching Youtube videos and joining online communities. If those engineers had adequate opportunities to learn under experienced instructors and had industry experience in companies such as Tranos, the situation would be different. But engineering and manufacturing companies, in turn, need an enabling environment and the support of government to keep their doors open, according to a paper Tranos presented to the Nigerian Society of Engineers, recently.

South Korea is a good example of how engineering leads to sustainable national development. Over the past four decades, South Korea has demonstrated incredible economic growth and global integration to become a high-tech industrialised economy. A major factor for this growth was how fast the South Korean government embraced technology and engineering.

Engineering and technology can not only help countries to climb up the value chain but also presents a chance to push back some of the environmental limits with new technologies for radically increased resource productivity people familiar with the matter have said. All countries have a part to play, whether it is in adopting, adapting or developing such technologies.

It is in light that the partnership between the Nigerian Air Force and Tranos manifests a thrust forward that offers opportunities to build local capacity and gradually nudge Nigeria towards becoming self-sufficient in terms of engineering and construction. This also advances R&D and the emergence of hightech companies.

The Nigerian Airforce team was led by the Commandant, Air Force Institute of Technology, Air Vice Marshal A. Olabisi. Some of the officers in the NAF delegation were; Air Vice Marshal RN Ekeh, chief of Standards and Evaluation, HQ NAF; Air Vice Marshal MO Olatunji, chief of Aircraft Engineering, HQ NAF; Air Vice Marshal MA Yakubu, chief of Logistics, HQ NAF; Air Vice Marshal PO Jemitola, director Research and Development, and Group Captain OC Ubadike, dean School of Aircraft Engineering, AFIT.