BY CHRIS OCHAYI
ABUJA – Determined to fast track capacity building aimed to ignite revolution in the power sector of the economy, the Federal Government says it has completed arrangements construct training centres for electrical engineers across the six geo-political zones in the country.
Minister of Power, Professor Chinedu Nebo, disclosed this while inspecting the construction of permanent site of National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, NAPTIN, Friday, at Idu Industrial area of Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Abuja. The minister was taken round the edifice by the Director General of NAPTIN, Engr. Rueben Okeke.
He said that the government was ready to give priorities to capacity building in power sector in order to avoid the repeat of ugly experience of the oil industry where the workforce, including the low level, turned out to be expatriates.
Prof. Nebo noted that, “we would not want to learn from a horrifying experience. And that is why it is important for us to learn from the mistakes of others and position the entire power sector so that it has an indigenous face and not a completely foreign or international face.
According to him, “and we will urge NAPTIN to go beyond the graduate skill to at seasonal level because it appears that at the very lower rungs of electricity value chain, Nigeria doesn’t have a lot of workforce. We will encourage you to have schemes at the various centres all over the country distributed in geo-political zones to make sure that we will begin raise a critical mass of workforce in those areas. “
He said, “the wonderful work that is ongoing, this is evident that National Power Training Institute of Nigeria, NAPTIN, is the one that is positioned to build capacity and also to ensure that the new electricity market which is now dominantly controlled by the private sector takes off on a very sound footing. One thing I have always been concerned about is capacity building to making sure we have the right workforce.
“ If that were not taking into account, we will run into the problem of the oil industry where even at the low level , most of the workers turned out to be expatriates. Very thankfully, the Local Content bill is helping to correct that. We would not want to learn from a horrifying experience.
“And that is why it is important for us to learn from the mistakes of others and position the entire power sector so that it has an indigenous face and not a completely foreign or international face.
“That would also empower our young people to ensure that our institutions that are producing professionals in all the fields of engineering and other fields that would be functional within the power sector are empowered to work, create wealth and keep the country moving on.
“It is obvious for all of us that power stands as the very veritable key to industrial revolution in Nigeria. We are rejoicing, Nigeria is now number one economy in the whole of Africa, growing at a beautiful rate of more than 6.5 percent annually. But experts have said if the power is corrected, and we have enough quantity and good quality in Nigeria, that our growth rate might even get to double digit.
“ So that is challenge for all of us. We are now number 26 economy in the world, but power alone can get us to faster than anything else to one of he top economy in the world. So, I must commend the visionary leadership of Director General of NAPTIN, Engr. Rueben Okeke. I am so thrilled with the brinkmanship with regard to paddling the canoe of power training institute with regard to infrastructural development content development, capacity building, etc.
“NAPTIN recently, won an international award for best practices in instruction. And we are very proud that the entire NAPTIN family, so I congratulate the entire NAPTIN family. So, we will continue, on the Federal government perspective to empower NAPTIN so that the dreams are eventually realised.
“There is a lot of crunch in the economy, physically, funds are not coming in because of loss or all the challenges, but as they trickle in, we will make sure that NAPTIN is not marginalised at all. Because if you are not empowered, it means we will have a very sloppy workforce. But we can’t contend with a sloppy. We want the best possible workforce to move the power sector. Forward.
“I will once again want to congratulate all of you and to pledge the commitment of the federal government of Nigeria to continue to help. You know that Mr. President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan stands out as a president who has done most for the power sector since the onset of Nigeria. He is not resting on his oar.
“He is the one who saw very critical need that made it possible that after 16 years of non employment of engineers that we now have fresh engineers, young engineers within the power sector, and who mostly will have some training from NAPTIN.”