Ogbonnaya Onu

The Federal Government has approved a new policy barring foreign professionals who have not been registered and certified by all the necessary regulatory bodies in Nigeria from practising their trade in the country.

Minister of science and technology, Ogbonnaya Onu told State House correspondents after weekly meeting of the federal executive council at the Council Chamber, Presidential Villa Abuja on Wednesday that they agreed that from now on, any person who wants to practice any profession that has anything to do with science, engineering and technology, medical doctors, accountants, quantity surveyors among others must have to be certified by appropriate regulatory bodies in Nigeria.

“Some of the highlights will involve where we have bulk purchases of major items that will bring into the country those who normally would have supplied from outside the country will now come to Nigeria and establish their factories to produce in Nigeria.

“By doing so, they will offer job opportunities to our people, tax will be paid to government, wealth will be created and most importantly, Nigeria will now acquire the necessary technology that will help us build capacity,” he said.

According to him, “This is very important in our building our local capacity. There are so many areas that this new policy has covered because the aim of this new policy is to make sure that in the next ten years, Nigeria firms will be in a position to carry out very complex jobs. A sort of jobs that we don’t currently have the expertise to do in the country.

“And for such jobs, we will rely on foreign expertise and foreign firms for now but when they come, they have to work with Nigerian firms so that these Nigerian firms will understudy them and this will be from the conception to the commissioning.

“That is the only way that we can hope to acquire to acquire the necessary technology to build our local capacity because our aim is like in the next ten years like I said we will be able to have own domestic firms, Nigerian firms to carry out all these jobs.

“And in about 20 years, we want to see Nigerian firms competing with the very best in the world.

“So, the Federal Executive Council, accepted to declare a state of emergency for science and technology and this is very important because even the economic recovery and growth plan 2018 to 2020 recognizes the cardinal place of science and technology in driving this recovery and growth plan of government.

“We are not looking for transfer of technology because we know it will not happen, what we are looking for is acquisition of technology and we are interested in building our own capacity.

“We are convinced that we can do this and we believe that with the approval given to this policy once implemented, we will be in a position to acquire technology.

“This policy is a very comprehensive policy. We will pay a lot of attention to training. We will make sure that we have all the artisans we need, all the technicians that we need so that once somebody is building a house, once you get up to finishing of that house, you are most likely going to bring people from outside country. Many of them come from our neighbouring countries. This we will not allow to continue. So we want to build the requisite manpower.

“We will also use the Ministry of Interior to help us with a new classification in our immigration policy. Those areas that we lack expertise as of now, we will use that classification to bring in those who have such expertise particularly from African countries.

“Then we will also be working closely with Nigerians in the Diaspora because many Nigerians outside the country have a lot of skills which we need at this time particularly in order to implement this policy, we will be working with them.”