Economic experts and citizens have reacted to President Muhammadu Buhari's Monday's executive order aimed at encouraging local content and initiatives in the economic sector.
The executive order which was signed by the president on Monday tagged Executive Order 5 is to improve local content in public procurement with science, engineering and technology components.
The Executive Order is expected to promote the application of science, technology and innovation towards achieving the nation's development goals across all sectors of the economy.
The president, pursuant to the authority vested in him by the constitution, ordered that all "procuring authorities shall give preference to Nigerian companies and firms in the award of contracts, in line with the Public Procurement Act 2007."
The Executive Order also prohibits the Ministry of Interior from giving visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.
It, however, notes that where expertise is lacking, procuring entities will give preference to foreign companies and firms with a demonstrable and verifiable plan for indigenous development, prior to the award of such contracts.
In the proclamation entitled "Presidential executive order 5 for planning and execution of projects, promotion of Nigerian content in contracts and science, engineering and technology," the president also directed Ministries, Departments and Agencies to engage indigenous professionals in the planning, design and execution of national security projects.
In reaction, the chief executive officer of Economic Associates, Ayo Teriba, said the order is in the right direction but should not be confined to just science, engineering and technology sectors of the economy.
"It is a policy in the right direction and it should not be confined to those areas that the executive order is covering. It should be wider. Any job that a Nigerian can do, no foreigner should do it.
"President Buhari has done well but they should expand the coverage of such executive orders to preserve the employment space for Nigerians," he said.
Also, the Lead Director, Centre for Social Justice, Eze Onyekpere, said the order is a welcome development only if the government is ready to implement it.
He said "It is a welcome development but is the federal government ready to implement the order?
"Remember that there was also an executive order by the vice president, Yemi Osinbajo when he was acting president on the issue of local content and I don't know to what extent they have implemented that order before the execution of another one. It is a welcome development if only the government is ready to implement it."
In a press release sent to PREMIUM TIMES on Tuesday signed by its President and Publicity Secretary John Ehiguese and Israel Opayemi respectively, the Public Relations Consultants Association of Nigeria, PRCAN, commended the President for signing the Executive Order.
The association said this would it unlawful to grant visas to expatriates to come into Nigeria to render professional services which could otherwise be provided by Nigerian professionals.
The association described the president's action as "exceptional, courageous and an act of nationalism which puts our country first over and above the popular penchant of government officials for all things foreign, and particularly Caucasian."
PRCAN further assured President Buhari of its readiness to play the role of whistleblowers in relation to the public relations and marketing communications sector, promising to avail the Presidency with the details of foreigners operating agencies illegally in defiance of the laws regulating the industry in Nigeria.
"President Muhammadu Buhari can be rest assured of our support in this regard. We will compile the names and addresses of those currently operating illegally here against the extant law regulating the Public Relations practice in Nigeria.
"That law is among those you promised to enact and enforce in your capacity as the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to protect businesses in Nigeria. We will make this task easy for you so that relevant government agencies can enforce the Executive Order and other extant laws," PRCAN said.
A content strategist, Olayera Oluwaseyifunmi, also said the executive order was commendable but "not something to get excited about."
"It is commendable but it shouldn't be something we should be so excited about. It is sad and appalling that the president has to say this as an executive order before we are considered for skills that we actually have.
"It is one thing for the president to say this and the bodies responsible to act on it. I hope and pray that the order will not just be in print but will be implemented," she said.
Danladi Mammani, in a comment on the subject, on the PREMIUM TIMES website said the move would help local job hunters.
"No country is an Island, the foreigners here already should remain but priority should be given to indigenous job hunters," he said.
Another reader, Chukwuka Okoroafor said the move is praiseworthy.
"Well this is praiseworthy. Buhari also signed a directive a few months ago preventing monopolies from forming. It seems that the foundations are being laid quietly for the capitalist engine of Nigeria to take off."