Accra, March 26, GNA- Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama at the weekend tasked the Ghana Institution of Engineers (GhIE) to explore new energy alternatives to reverse the frequent power shortages and outages and boost the national investment drive. "We need to march up with the information age through comprehensive Information, Communication and Technology strategy in order to create wealth for all," he said at the 37th Presidential and Gala Banquet of the GhIE in Accra. He expressed the need for engineers to be at the forefront to ensure the safe transportation of passengers and goods and eliminate undue delays and reduce motor accidents.
The Presidential Banquet, which was part of this year's conference of the GhIE was on the theme: "The Role of Engineering and Industry in Achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)". The occasion, which was attended by representatives of the Institute of Engineers from Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Togo, was used to admit to office new Council Members for 2006 and 2007 and the investiture of other officials. In fulfilment of the MDGs the national vision is to attain middle-income status by 2015 by ensuring that the Gross Domestic Product grows at an annual rate of eight to 10 per cent with a per capita income of over 1000 dollars.
Vice President Mahama, who is a professional engineer, said there was the need for modern technology to make the country's cottage industry competitive to solve the teething accommodation problem confronting a number of Ghanaians. "This Institute must, therefore accept a more positive and active role in the life and development of our nation. The Institute must not become a social club in which members engage in endless debates and arguments." He said the GhIE could justify its status in society by the contribution it made to the progress and development of the nation.
Vice President Alhaji Mahama expressed concern about the brain drain of engineers to seek greener pastures and urged the GhIE to assess and coordinate the activities of engineering graduates to facilitate the harnessing of their expertise for the benefit of society.
Mr Kwabena Safo-Debrah, the new President of the GhIE said it was necessary for engineers to collaborate with other professionals in the building industry to invoke penalties associated with non adherence to safety and design codes that had led to the recent collapse of buildings under construction. He said past designers of buildings also paid only lip service to the requirements of the physically challenged persons, adding: "Naturally existing buildings have therefore, become traps instead of the use to which they were designed for."
Mr Safo-Debrah said his administration would strive to reverse the situation by ensuring that buildings and urban road facilities were user friendly for the physically challenged. He also planned to forge better understanding and collaboration between the GhIE and the Institution of Incorporated Engineers and put in place a strategic membership drive to woo the over 4,000 engineers who were not members of the Institute to boost its current membership of 1,800.
Dr Robert Adjaye, the out-going President of the GhIE asked his colleagues to rise to the national challenge of engineering in a timely manner.