Why FG Patronises Foreign Contractors, Not Local Ones– Fashola

The Minister of Power, Works and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, has blamed Nigerian engineers for creating the vacuum that made the Federal Government patronize foreign contractors.

Mr. Fashola said this on Tuesday in Abuja when a delegation of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) led by its President, Otis Anyaeji, paid him a courtesy visit.

He said that the failure of Nigerian engineering firms to bid for government projects was responsible for the patronage of foreign contractors.

“If there was no vacuum, there would not be foreign engineering consultants and contractors in Nigeria.

“Unless we honestly stand up and accept that there is a vacuum, we look in the mirror and tell ourselves that we honestly do not like what we see, it will not change.

“I can tell you from experience when I was a state governor, that when I advertised for rail project, no Nigerian firm bidded for it.

“Government will not stop the development of the country, if you are not ready.”

According to him, while we point a finger at government, we must also point the same fingers at ourselves because foreign companies doing business in Nigeria are privately owned.

He advised Nigerian engineers to accept their deficiencies and build their capacities to be able to compete with foreign firms.

Meanwhile, the minister decried what he called the over legislation of procurement process and called for a review, to enhance speedy development of infrastructure in the country.

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Gunmen Kidnap Foreign Contractors In Calabar

At least three Australian citizens and one Australian resident, who were contractors for Lafarge cement company have been kidnapped and their driver killed in Calabar, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said on Thursday.

There was an initial confusion over the number of victims and nationalities of those involved, as police in gave conflicting accounts, Reuters said in a report.

But media reports indicate that three Australians, a New Zealander, a South African and two Nigerians were attacked by the gunmen with one of them shot dead.

The two workers later escaped, police said. They were attacked on the outskirts of the city of Calabar at around 05:30 a.m.

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull called the incident a “very serious kidnapping” in response to a journalist’s question and urged calm in reporting the incident.

“These are the facts as we know them: three Australians and one Australian resident were among seven people kidnapped in an attack on an Australia contractor’s operations in Nigeria. One person was killed in the attack,” Turnbull told reporters.

Two expatriates managed to flee, said Irene Ugbo, a spokeswoman for Cross River state police, adding that she did not know the nationality of any of the workers feared still held.

Ugbo had earlier said that only two of the kidnapped were Australians, and one was a New Zealander, while another police officer said a South African had been abducted.

The kidnappers had not contacted police, she said.

Kidnappings of foreigners are common in the Delta region, which holds most of the crude oil whose sales make about 70 percent of Nigeria’s national income.

Credit: Guardian