September 22, 2020

Why Govt should jettison use of foreign professionals – APBN president

Government at all levels in Nigeria have been told to jettison the use of foreign professionals when executing developmental projects and when seeking solutions to problems in the country.

President, Association of Professional Bodies of Nigeria (APBN), Chief Olumuyiwa Alade Ajibola FNSE, stated this while speaking with journalists on the sideline of the 9th summit of professionals themed:”Nigerai Beyond Today” organised by APBN which held at Premier Hotel, Ibadan, on Tuesday.

Ajibola noted that:”One of the reasons we are here is to discuss among other issues government’s sole reliance on foreign professionals to carry out some functions which local professionals can effectively perform.

“Like I said earlier, foreign professionals are being relied upon in several government departments for solutions to Nigeria’s problems, whereas, those that can best solve the problems are those that are actually faced with the problems.

“Let me give you an example, for instance, to develop a road between one village and another, who best knows how to do it are the local professionals because they would have studied the movement, the type of terrain, the typical transportation that is expected to use the road and so on. They know best how to do it.

“We also have other issues like health, education and all sectors. We are the ones that know best our problems and with the knowledge that we have acquired as professionals, we can then approach those problems, define them better and by defining our problems clearly, then we are half way to the solution, and we can proffer solutions.

“We can apply technologies and seek foreign expertise which can be shared, no country is an island in any situation. So if we get all these together, then we get a better solution than just relying solely on foreign professionals.”

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One of the speakers at the summit, Francis Olawale, in his paper presentation titled:”Policy of Governance And The Professionals’ Input” posited that the role of professionals in any socioeconomic enclave is very critical as the professionals collectively constitute the metaphorical lynchpin of the socio-economic growth.

“Professionals must drive the acculturation of governance ideal, by virtue of their vantage positions as enlightened and skilled segment of the contemporary socio-economic order.” He concluded.

In his paper presentation, Prof Pat Utomi spoke on the role of professionals and why should  be Concerned about Tomorrow

He also spoke on experience with History and Nigerian Professionals on the Frontline, the current COVID-19 challenges and duty for the professional

In his paper presentation titled “Nigeria today, beyond financial security” Yomi Olugbenro argued that significant deficits in power, rail, road and critical infrastructure shows inadequacy of government funding

He said the size of Nigeria’s GDP and population show pitiable gap in comparison with revenue

According to him, whilst Debt/GDP ratio remains decent, debt servicing capacity shows grave concerns

He said to close the gap, there is urgent need to tackling illicit financial flows and corporate in public and private sectors, block revenue leakages in all MDAs investment  in infrastructure,

Increase budgetary spend on infrastructure  and reduce focus on recurrent  expenses

He also said there is need to focus on Public-Private Partnerships, which reduces government’s cost of infrastructure, reduces borrowing, engenders transparency & accountability and minimizes corruption.

“Nigeria needs to grow at 12% annually (i.e. about 9% above population growth) just to double GDP/capital in 8 years (using the rule of 72, a 9% growth amounts to doubling in 8 years). That is scary, but we need to set where we want income/head to be at, and then set policies and direction for this.