President William Ruto has called on the engineering professional bodies to be strict in shielding the industry from unqualified actors blamed for poor workmanship that has previously resulted to loss of lives and property.
Speaking during the 4th Engineering Partnerships Convention in Nakuru County organized by the Engineers Board of Kenya (EBK), President Ruto challenged the industry to deploy tougher measures that will allow only qualified engineers to practice in the country.
“Through the Board, we are facilitating total compliance with the highest standards of engineering by building contractors and developers. It should no longer be possible for projects to employ unqualified people or to proceed without employing an engineer altogether,” said President Ruto.
Cases of buildings collapsing and claiming lives and loss of property are not new to Kenya with latest incident being in Mombasa County where a four-storey building turned into rubble just days after being declared unsafe.
While no casualty was reported due to early warnings other than loss of property for tenants who had little time to vacate the condemned premise, the aftermath put the focus once again on the engineering profession.
“Qualified engineers must supervise building works from the commencement to completion. A zero tolerance policy for non-compliant structures must be employed in order to take action against people responsible for collapsing buildings,” he added.
This comes as the government commits to announces it will admit 500 engineer trainees to the Graduate Engineers Internship Programme in order to build capacity in the profession and support government Bottom-up Economic Transformation Agenda in sectors such as agro-industrial processing, manufacturing, affordable housing, road and infrastructure development and energy.
“We see alternatives to the internal combustion engine emerging locally and several other technology trends. I believe the local engineering profession holds the keys to unlock and unleash the potential of these emerging technologies so that they become a reality for the benefit of Kenyans,” said Kipchumba Murkomen, Roads and Transport Cabinet Secretary.
The programme by EBK is expected to accelerate time it takes for one to become an engineer from 7-12 years to three years and cut over 7000 estimated shortage for professional engineers that Kenya is facing.
“Kenya has a 3, 000 professional engineers and over 23,000 of Graduate engineers. Our strategic intent is to have 10,000 professional by 2027,” said Margaret Ogai, EBK Chief Executive Officer.
According to UNESCO estimates, middle-income countries are required to have a ration of professional engineers to country’s population as 1:5,000 persons.