Benue state deputy governor, Engr Benson Abounu has called on Nigerian engineers to take the challenge posed by the current economic situation in the country and use their creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to transform the monolithic economy to a sustainable level.
Engr Abounu who identified manufacturing, solid mineral exploitation and agriculture as sustainable revenue sources that can revive the economy but which have been largely neglected by successive governments said engineers should take the driver’s seat, use their creative minds and help diversify our economy through innovations in technology, involvement in manufacturing, principally small and medium scale manufacture and value addition to our primary products.
He spoke at the 29th International Conference and Annual General Meeting of the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers holding in Uyo, Akwa Ibom state where he delivered a keynote address, “sustainable development of Nigeria in the face of dwindling oil revenue: the role of the engineer.”
Engr Abounu, a Fellow of both the Nigerian Society of Engineers (FNSE) and the Nigerian Institution of Mechanical Engineers (FNIMechE) told the gathering that due to the overdependence of the country on foreign earnings from crude oil, the nation’s economy is extremely weak, narrow in terms of value addition and vulnerable to external shocks.
He explained that a monolithic economy largely dependent on hydrocarbon and exposed to external market shock is clearly unsustainable, adding that the continued dominance of outputs of agriculture and oil in their primary form in the economic structure of the country demonstrates a lack of transformation despite repeated official pronouncements to the contrary.
He advocated diversification and structural transformation of our economy through value addition to our primary products and through innovation in technology as a necessary and urgent economic strategy for overcoming the recession.
Earlier, National chairman of the Institution, Engr. Ugochukwu Nzurumike stated that the conference will be used to revisit their actions of the past years and also evolve new techniques for better results in the year ahead, adding that they will be focusing on how best mechanical engineers in this country can survive an economy in recession.
The conference, which theme is “surviving an economy in recession: strategies for Nigerian mechanical engineers” was declared open by the National President, Nigeria Society of Engineers, Engr Otis Oliver Anyaeji who was represented by Engr Akintunde Zedoni.
There were goodwill messages from Osun state governor, Raul Aregbesola, himself a mechanical engineer; the Vice-chancellor, Akwa Ibom state University, Uyo, the Standard Organisation of Nigeria (SON) and Afe Babalola University, among others.
During the conference, six illustrious mechanical engineers among them Engr Benson Abounu were honoured with distinguished awards for their contributions to the development of mechanical engineering in the country and beyond.