APWEN urges support for govt’s intervention in infrastructure development

APWEN’s chairman, Mrs. Nimot Muili

APWEN’s chairman, Mrs. Nimot Muili

FEMALE engineers in the country have been urged to support governments’ intervention in creating framework of contracts for private investors in order to improve incentives for infrastructure provision, particularly, the power supply sector of the economy.

Power is key to any nation that intends to develop and women engineers have role to play to achieve the governments’ intervention in creating framework of contracts for private investors in order to improve incentives for power supply

This charge was handed down to a group of women engineers in Nigeria, who gathered last week in Lagos at the instance of Association of Professional Women Engineers of Nigeria (APWEN), Lagos Chapter’ 2015 public lecture and award.

Considered its place pivot in the nation’s development, the women engineers chose to discuss; “Bridging the Power Supply Gap in Nigeria and Role of Women Engineers”; an event, held within Banquet Hall, Sheraton Hotel and Towers, was well-attended, as participants thronged the venue of the lecture.

Welcoming her guests and members, APWEN’s chairman, Mrs. Nimot Muili said the annual lecture and award was an important activity in the group’s yearly programme of events, meant bring to the attention of the stakeholders the challenges faced by Nigeria and Nigerians; and also the contributory roles played by women in addressing challenges.

Giving the world record on power, Muili, referring to a IEA, World Energy Outlook 2014 report, says 1.3 billion people worldwide – a population equivalent to that of the entire OECD continued to live without access to electricity, adding that, this accounts for 18 percent of the global population and 22 percent of those living in developing countries and nearly 97 percent of those without access to electricity live in Sub-Saharan Africa and developing Asia.

According to a major European engineering firm, the estimated demand would rise in succession from 33 terawatt hours in 2011 to between 56 and 95 terawatt hours by 20020 and this was said to increase in peak load demand from 5,000 MW in 2011 to between 9,000 MW and 16,000 MW by 2020.

“No dobut, Nigeria’s energy sector is fraught with challenges. There is a gap between electricity supply and demand, a gap between revenues and expenses on the power utilities, and a gap in overall investment in the sector.”

Citing World Bank, Muili, said that the largest populations without electricity are in India, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and Indonesia, urging there was need for intensive and extensive structural reform in Nigeria to meet the deficit, which she said would take time to be implemented in view of numerous challenges plaguing the sector.

Amidst these unpleasant situations, Muili said women engineers could rise to the occasion of solving the power problem, using engineering-based knowledge to support government’s initiatives.

“There is a need for women engineers to support government intervention in creating framework of contracts for private investors in order to improve incentives for power supply. Within these lie opportunities for women engineers to contribute their technical expertise and improve electricity supply by benefitting in the massive investment programme.”

APWEN chair, who, noted that, although women now earn more degrees in engineering field, she, however, regretted women are still a minority in engineering, urging her colleagues to encourage many girls into engineering in order tom enhance their technical quality and ultimately excel in their fields of engineering.

According to her, women needed to actively involve themselves in reactivating the strategies to having more power plants in Nigeria, calling on APWEN members to vigorously fight sabotage and reducing corruption in the power sector.

“We need to address and awaken in ourselves the deep-rooted problem solving techniques, sound analytical and methodological skills, which are the bedrock of engineering. Gone are the days of doing good jobs alone, we are in dire need of engineers, who are aware of the stakeholders and how to positively inspire the community and Nigeria at large.”

Speaking at the event, APWEN president, Mrs. Nnoli Akpedeye said although women in other fields have initiated projects to aid the power sector, it was however, regrettable that most of these projects are restricted due to scarcity of funds, calling stakeholders to join forces with women groups with a view to developing the country.

“I therefore encourage all nation builders and forward-thinking individuals, organisations, institutions, government ministries, departments and agencies to join forces with women groups, associations and organisations in your locality to actualise programmes and activities that will build a brighter tomorrow for future.”

Tasking her professional colleagues and others, Akpedeye said: “I urge all women engineers, scientists and technologists to work up their adrenalin and use it to jumpstart latent talents and creativity, then step up; partner with other like-minded women and professionals; and accelerate actions to deliver positive, sustainable advances in the power sector for the benefit of Nigeria and Nigerians.”

In his paper, Mr. Lanre Opadokun, after reviewing the enormous opportunities within the power sector, charged higher institutions of learning to see to churning out competent professionals to develop the sector.

“The onus therefore lies on our Universities, Polytechnics and other institutions of higher learning to produce competent engineers of sufficient quantity and quality to take up the gauntlet of providing electricity to millions of Nigerians.”

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