The Engineers Registration Board (ERB) has appealed to the government to ensure there are enough engineers to manage vast deposits of natural gas and oil found in the country. Minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli Addressing delegates attending the 10th Annual Engineers' Day, the ERB Chairman, Eng Prof Ninatubu Lema, said the government should put in place plans to look at its own capacity of bringing development to the country. Eng. Prof Lema said there should be a strategy to ensure enough engineers in the oil and gas field are in place before transforming the country into gas economy. He said without patriotism, the country will witness gas and oil being extracted and transported out of the country with little benefit to the public. "It should be a national agenda otherwise the country will witness changes without development while gas and oil benefit other people. A paper will be presented in this meeting today and discussions on what steps to take as engineers and a country will be discussed," he explained. On the same note, the ERB Chairman appealed to the government to create a good working environment for engineers in the country, including loaning them equipment to enable them start and sustain their companies. He said good working environment and equipment will enable local engineers compete for opportunities in regional and local markets, in areas such as infrastructure. ‘Local engineers work in difficult environment with little or outdated working equipment, let alone the many challenges they face in their line of work," he explained. Eng Prof Lema said salaries and other benefits should also be improved, especially for engineers working in rural areas, to attract more such experts to take up the jobs once posted to those areas. "Improving salaries and benefits for engineers in this field will attract more youths to choose to study for this field, eventually increasing the number of engineers, which is currently at 12,000," Eng Prof Lema said. He said some of the 12,000 engineers, a small number compared to the population of more than 40m, use creativity and local available resources in executing their projects. He named Eng. Nyambele of Mwanza City Council who constructed a more than 2km road using stones and Eng. Mfinanga who constructed six high speed boats using locally available material aluminum. Reading the keynote speech on behalf of the Minister for Works, Dr John Magufuli, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Works, Mr Herbert Mrango, said the government continues to create a good environment including good infrastructure for local engineers to access regional opportunities. Dr Magufuli said the East African Community (EAC) and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) provide huge market or opportunities for local engineers. He said all roads linking the regional markets have been upgraded to tarmac levels, urging them to continue upholding integrity in providing services within and outside the country. The topic for the day "Engineering opportunities in the SADC and Great Lakes Regional Markets, prospects, challenges and the way forward" is timely, noting that different national strategies are aimed at opening markets for products from other countries. "I believe you will discuss ways to access and use such opportunities for your own benefit and that of the country. The government wants you to participate in building your countries and provide competition to companies outside the African continent. Other delegates attending the two-day ERB 10th Annual Meeting include representatives from Kenya, Uganda and South Africa. Former EAC Secretary General, Mr Juma Mwapachu was among those presenting papers.