President Muhammadu Buhari Thursday in Abuja directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies of government (MDAs) to give priority to indigenous professionals for planning, design and execution of national projects, admonishing that foreign professionals should only be considered where it had been certified that the local expertise is not available.

Speaking at the inauguration of the Presidential Monitoring and Evaluation Council of the Executive Order 5 at the State House, Abuja, President Buhari in a statement by presidential spokesman, Femi Adesina, said “The Federal Government shall introduce Margin of Preference in National Competitive Bidding in contracts, in the evaluation of tenders, from indigenous suppliers of goods manufactured locally over foreign goods.’

“All MDAs shall ensure that any professional practicing in Nigeria must be duly registered with the appropriate regulatory body in Nigeria.

“All MDAs shall ensure that for all consultancy contracts awarded to foreign companies, engineering drawings, necessary calculations, design, etc are made available to their corresponding Nigerian partners, including arrangements with Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as partners towards local production of needed materials.’’

Accordingly, the President explained that the Executive Order No 5 was aimed at placing Nigerian professionals and manufacturers at the centre of the Nigerian economy.

The President noted that the Executive Order 5 will be used by the administration to midwife a new beginning that would transform Nigeria’s economy from resource-based to a knowledge-based and innovation-driven.

President Buhari said suppliers and contractors under national competitive bidding process shall disclose local material (processed or unprocessed), where available and needed for the execution of projects.

He added that designs for all contracts, programmes, projects, etc., shall be in English language before signing.

“The Ministry of Interior shall ensure that Expatriate Quota for projects, contracts, and programmes are granted according to the provisions of the Immigration Act and other relevant laws. This will apply where qualifications and competence of Nigerian Nationals are not available or cannot be ascertained, which shall be contingent on training such number of persons as may be required for the execution of the contract or project,’’ he said.

The President, who is also chairman of the Presidential Monitoring Evaluation Council, said the team would oversee the general implementation of the Executive Order 5, and the secretariat would be domiciled at the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, supported by the Strategy Implementation Task Office for Presidential Executive Order 5 (SITOPEO-5).

He said the secretariat would facilitate the administration, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the provisions of Executive Order No. 5 and provide prompt reports to Council.

“I direct the Federal Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation to work with the office of the Honourable Minister of Justice and the Attorney General of the Federation to facilitate the early passage of the Bill for the Order at the National Assembly in line with the decisions of the Federal Executive Council.

“The Federal Government will do its utmost to ensure that the Executive Order No 5 is fully implemented as we are sure that the full implementation will create wealth, strengthen our economy, reduce poverty and provide employment for our people,’’ he added.

While inaugurating the Presidential Monitoring and Evaluation Council for the full implementation of the Presidential Executive Order 5 for Planning and Execution of Nigerian Content in Contracts, Science, Engineering and Technology, President Buhari said it would improve and expand indigenous capacity.

In his remarks, the Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation, Ogbonnaya Onu, said the inauguration was most timely, assuring that implementation would harness the human and natural resources of the country, reduce exportation of jobs and remove the current renting pattern, which fuels inefficacy.