The Nigerian Society of Engineers has said that no nation can remain in recession if its housing sector is strong and urged the Federal Government to pay more attention to the industry as it has the capacity to revamp the economy.
It also stated that for the sake of performance and quality executive service to the citizenry, President Muhammadu Buhari should constitute his cabinet with 60 per cent technocrats and 40 per cent politicians.
“In making this demand, engineers strongly recommend to the President to depoliticise the selection process and demystify the Senate screening exercise by attaching portfolios to those nominated for ministerial appointments,” the President, NSE, Mr. Otis Anyaeji, told journalists during a world press conference at the headquarters of the society in Abuja.
On housing, Anyaeji said “It has been established in developed countries that a nation cannot be or remain in recession if the housing sector remains strong. This is because the housing industry has a powerful multiplier effect on the rest of the economy like steel, wood, cement, paint, aluminium, glass, plastics, cables, piping, sand, quarry stones, roofing sheets, electricity, water, etc. and the gains are best maximised if these products are manufactured locally.”
He said the government should reject the option of developing housing through the continued importation of the materials, but should rather insist on their manufacture locally.
The NSE president noted that the importance of housing as a sector recommended it as an independent full ministry rather than an appendage to highways.
He explained that soil investigation was a major parameter in the failure of engineering facilities like roads, buildings, bridges, etc., adding that the National Building Code paid little attention to this.
“Given the frequency of building collapse in Nigeria, the government needs to support getting soil investigation done on every engineered land improvement project and ensure that standards are adhered to strictly across all facets of construction activities,” Anyaeji said.
He urged the government to focus attention on manufacturing, the housing sector, transportation, petrochemicals as well as the textile industry.
He said, “In the opinion of Nigerian engineers, Mr. President has to recognise that the next two and half years have to be a revolutionary period in government and also business. He has to believe in, and tap into the capacity of Nigerians and Nigeria for rebirth and renewal as already witnessed in the entertainment, communications, banking and other industries.
“Clearly, the time is ripe or even overdue for similar revolution in the government/public sector.”