Engineers have expressed fears over Nigeria’s increasing indebtedness to the Chinese, saying most of the loans are collected without a proper debt analysis. Nigeria is leveraging Chinese funding to execute $3.4 billion worth of projects at various stages of completion. These include the upgrading of airport terminals, the Lagos – Kano rail line, the Zungeru hydroelectric power project and fibre cables for our Internet infrastructure.

Also the country’s partnership with China through the China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) platform, resulted in the construction of the first urban rail system in West Africa. The 180km rail line, which connects Abuja and Kaduna, was commissioned on July at a cost of $500 million. Furthermore, less than three months ago, Nigeria signed an additional $1billion loan from China for rolling stock for the newly constructed rail lines as well as road rehabilitation and water supply projects.

Immediate past president of Nigeria Academy of Engineering, Mrs. Joanna Maduka raised the alarm in Lagos at the International Conference and 35th anniversary celebration of the Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN) themed: “Passion Translated into Enterprise”.

But Mrs. Maduka, the founding president of APWEN said, Nigeria engineers are burdened about the loans and what the government is taking as guarantee for their repayment. According to her, some of the projects are costly, especially the bridges.She lamented the absence of Nigeria engineers in the process and implementation of the contracts, stressing that the conditions of some of these roads and works on the railways left much to be desired.

According to her, the issue formed part of discussions at a recent meeting of the Nigeria Chamber of Commerce and Industry because of its effect on engineers and the future generation.The founding president of APWEN also lamented that Nigeria engineers are not involved in the contracts process to know whether they are given fair prices. “In some of these projects, every single item is imported even the manpower”, she said.She urged Nigeria engineers to be ready to collaborate with others in the industry because of the effect to the profession and incoming generation.

Meanwhile, APWEN president, Mrs. Felicia Agubata has urged female engineers not to depend on their pay check but to go for their passion and translate them into an enduring enterprise. Agubata extolled the founding members of APWEN for translating their passion into an enterprise, thereby lighting up the coast and ensuring that female engineers stand on an elevated pedestal to look at the society and to find opportunities to embed values at all strata especially for the girl child.

The trust, she said, is to use our passion to improve human experience and make life better for all.According to her, the passion of the six founders of APWEN has remained potent and would seem to clearly illustrate the theme for the conference.The APWEN president said the organization as a female profession is carrying out an advocacy to rake up the number of female engineers and encourage female pupils to be interested in science and technology.

The Chief Executive Officer of Seplat Petroleum Development Company, Sir Austin Avuru, who delivered the keynote address, urged women engineers to identify their purpose in life by translating their passion into enterprise. Avuru extolled APWEN to take their experience developed over 35 years of existence to campuses to nurture young girls and make them a force in engineering by 2020.

Source: Naija Hope Team


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