COREN seeks exemption from FG’s professional non-funding policy


The President of the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria, Sadiq Abubakar, has asked the Federal Government to exempt the council from the non-funding policy of professional and regulatory bodies in the country scheduled to begin in January 2024.

He stated this at the 31st Engineering Assembly themed, “Entrenching and strengthening engineering practitioners code of conduct for resilient engineering practice in Nigeria” held in Abuja on Tuesday.

This was as the Borno State Governor, Babagana Zulum, urged the council to accept the policy as an opportunity to be innovative and stamp its authority in providing engineering solutions to the infrastructural deficits faced in the country.

In June, the PUNCH reported the announcement by the federal government to stop funding professional bodies and councils. The move was in line with the decision of the Presidential Committee on Salaries and is expected to take effect from January 2024.

According to the memo, the affected councils must take full responsibility for their personal, overhead, and capital expenditure.

But the COREN president, speaking in his welcome address to important personalities including the Borno State governor, Babagana Zulum, Ogun State deputy governor, Noimot Salako-Oyedele, and the immediate past national secretary of the All-Progressive Congress, Iyiola Omisore, among others gave a defence on why the council should be exempted.

Zubair queried why the engineering body established to improve efficiencies and ensure only competent practitioners undertake engineering professional services should not be exempted from such a policy because of the excellent work it is rendering to Nigerian society.

According to him, the council is not a professional association but a regulatory agency rendering government functions to protect the general public through the registration and licensing of engineers, consulting firms, and engineering firms.

He said, “Over the years, COREN has become an effective bridge between Government, industry and education as an agency of government established to protect and promote the interest and welfare of the public by ensuring that only competent practitioners undertake engineering professional services.

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“Let me also stress the fact that the need for engineering regulation is driven by the wish to protect people and society at large from the danger associated with engineering failure. COREN was therefore inaugurated to ensure the highest standards of professionalism in engineering practice in Nigeria and the elimination of quacks. The Council avoids unnecessary competition among practitioners and prevents them from taking advantage of the people in illegal ways or through unfair deals.

He added, “Since quality engineering practice is germane to the Country’s quest for development and for the avoidance of the risk associated with engineering failure occurrences, the attendant loss of lives and economic waste, the Council wish to state loudly that it should be exempted from the federal government’s no-funding directive. As this is the situation in other climes, including developed countries.”

Responding to the plea, Gov. Zulum said the policy should be viewed as a way to generate more revenue and provide engineering solutions, rather than rely on the government’s diminishing resources.

The governor said, “The COREN president in his address sought an exemption of the professional body from the withdrawal of funding policy by the federal government. but I think the policy should be accepted at a time like this.

“First, the withdrawal of funding will strengthen the capacity to generate more revenue and proffer engineering solutions. I think this was what we are supposed to do and not rely further on the government’s dwindling resources for funding.”

As a solution, the two-time governor tasked the council to effective implementation of the local content order which has emphasised the need for the government operatives to look inward and use the local engineers for government projects.

He further charged the council to ensure that local engineers are capable of handling 90 percent of infrastructural projects in Nigeria.

He stated, “Our Local engineers should be able to handle up to 98 percent of infrastructural projects in this country. I think we can put our heads together on the issues of local content. We have very brilliant Nigerian engineers and it is not that we don’t have but the opportunities are limited.

“Go to Borno state, 98 percent of our massive infrastructural projects are ongoing, designed, and executed by local engineers. There should be a political will and commitment to drive this crucial process for the growth and development of our country.” ,

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