Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has identified the huge infrastructural deficit in the country as a major impediment to the nation’s economic growth.
This was stated in a press release signed and made available to the media by Special Assistant to the Senate President on Public Affairs, Mohammed Isa.
The statement was made when the Senate President received a delegation of Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE), who paid him a courtesy visit at the weekend in Abuja, Saraki said it is only when the issue is addressed that the nation’s economy will witness rapid transformation.
“Whatever we do, we cannot move this country forward until when we address this huge infrastructural deficit and this must be done in a conscious, efficient and cost effective way to achieve the desired result. It is based on this our conviction that the Senate identified laws critical to infrastructural provision for urgent review to bring them up to date with the present realities”, he said.
Saraki, who aligned himself with the request by the NSE President, Eng. Otis Anyaeji for the extension of the application of the Nigerian Content Development Act to cover other sectors of the economy, said it was in the same spirit the Senate on Wednesday debated and passed for second reading a bill to amend the Public Procurement Act.
According to him,”with this, Nigerian businesses and entrepreneurs are one step closer to having a first option policy, as this amendment will ensure that as matter of law, agencies of government patronizes made in Nigeria goods.
He lamented the huge resources being spent on importation of goods, and expressed confidence that the trend could be reversed with appropriate policies, firm leadership and the desired encouragement to entrepreneurs.
“By the time we change our orientation to patronize our local products, our economy will surely be where it supposed to be,” he said.
He commended the NSE for its resolve to partner with and assist the Senate in drafting relevant bills to improve the nation’s infrastructure while also promising to nominate a Senator to represent the legislature in the NSE Council.
Earlier, the NSE President, Anyaeji commended the Senate for its support on the reform of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) Act Cap E11, and requested for further support to get the bill assented to by the President.
Anyaeji urged the Senate to prioritize critical bills pending before it and expressed the Society’s readiness to partner with the National Assembly in areas of consultations on technological/engineering matters, as well as serving as technological/engineering assessors on relevant bills.
The Bills, according to him, were National Road Funds Bill, Federal Road Authority Bill, National Transport Commission Bill, National Inland Waterways Bill, Nigerian Railway Authority Bill, Nigerian Port and Harbour Authority Bill, Metallurgical Industry Bill, National Water Industry Bill and COREN Act Amendment Bill.