BusinessDay

Nigeria needs to build infrastructure for inclusive economic growth, experts say

For future and inclusive economic growth, Nigeria needs to build the necessary infrastructure, experts in the engineering profession have advised.

But the infrastructure the engineers are talking about are not physical infrastructure such as roads, water, electricity, etc. They are, instead, intellectual infrastructure which the experts listed as knowledge, entrepreneurial capitalism, capital, land velocity, and labour.

“These are infrastructure upon which great nations are built,” Ndubuisi Ekekwe, a Professor of Engineering and Founder, First Atlantic Semiconductors and Micro-electronics, explained.

The Professor, who spoke at a lecture organised by engineers under the auspices of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), Victoria Island, Lagos Branch, said it was through improvement in the engineering curriculum and capacity that Nigeria could rise as a nation.

He explained further that infrastructural capitalism would help build an innovative society, pointing out that the engineering profession in Nigeria should raise men and women that could help the country to get to a state of prosperity.

Ekekwe noted that, over the last 1,500 years, the GDP of nations had been flat because the world wasn’t seeing any significant improvement in the standard of living of the people and the per capita income was decelerating.

The world, he noted further, was in a state of economic paralysis because people were just postulating ideas, having solutions to transportation, electricity, water, and other infrastructure problems, but not producing goods and services.

He, therefore, tasked engineers to develop innovations that could unleash a $3 trillion GDP by 2030 in specific areas such as, agriculture, technology, healthcare, education, and real estate. insisting that, it is only when engineers are creative, that there could be prospects for the nation to rise.

The professor lamented that the impact of COVID-19 pandemic had changed the ordinance of practice for the profession but that has given engineers the opportunity to build the country by offering services to the expectations of Nigerians.

Ali Rabi, President, Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN), agreed, adding that Covid-19 pandemic was affecting governments in terms of plans and policies for infrastructure development as well as management.

According to him, the issue of development and management of infrastructure would be greatly affected, considering the fact that the development and management of infrastructure in Nigeria were done by foreigners.

“Government should prioritize its spending for meaningful impact on the economy, development, and investments,” he advised.

Ali reasoned that the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) depended on the production of sufficient engineering capacities to provide infrastructure and sustainable technology.

“It behooves the government to adequately engage indigenous engineering professionals in design, supervision, and management of infrastructure and projects in the country, he advised further.

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