Nigeria Does Not Lack Coded Welders
..but lack a sustainable and strategic manufacturing ecosystem
Contributing to the fallouts on the policy launch has been a difficult call, because it is like trying to pick a clean piece of meat from an oil stew. This is why I would have loved to avoid this topic.
It is one thing to know the problem, another to understand the problem and a totally different thing to decode the solution to the problem in order for you to propose a solution to fix the problem. This is crux of the issue.
From the publication on the launch, I will like to reference two statements and give my two cents to guide the Federal Ministry of Innovation, Science and technology to understand what and where the problem lies. “NCDMB is busy shredding money on modular contraptions it calls refineries and leaving crucial human capacity development that is actually in the schedule to NCDMB Act.” and “Nigeria still loses an estimated $10 billion annually in revenue by importing welders with international certification, displacing the country’s local service providers due to lack of acceptable accreditation”.
The combination of these two statements in quote lifted directly from the publication in the dailies, does give a lot to chew on and might sound laughable to existing and validated local content champions “. I align with the consensus position that the sincerity and passion of the Honorable Minister and Permanent Secretary to deliver something worthwhile and leave a lasting legacy was preyed upon.
I think this is why untrue information had to be shared and nonexistent data juggled to hasten decisions. I do not have the permission to speak for some bodies, but I can tell you that the position Nigeria currently enjoys in terms of capacity to deliver and even export is the combined effort of the monumental contributions of Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria (PETAN)
I am sure the minister was misinformed because both statements are an indictment on an NCDMB with an impressive 83% score points in its 10years road map smart target and over 60% score point in terms of domestication of simple to complex fabrication activities. I can’t give you the actually tonnage right away, I will need to verify current tonnage in country. PETAN companies are mostly a coalition of local content champions. They are the industry operational arm of NCDMB.
Peeled further, the consistent consistence of Dormanlong Engineering for close to almost century, the impressive emergence and growing reputation of MG Vow Gas as a strong competitor in the manufacturing industry, the steady climb of Nigeria Machine Tools and Nigerian Foundries Limited, the rising continental presence of OilServ, the growing number of national marginal oil field owners and in some cases asset acquisition by local players are validated testimonies to the impact of NCDMB activities. This is not to mention the thousands of code qualified persons that have been trained via local content manpower development initiatives by NCDMB across multiple levels.
PTDF with over 2000 code welders trained directly, over 200 multi process coded welders, and maybe also in thousands when the combined capacity of other welding personnel cadres, including masters and doctoral study scholarships are collated. Till date PTDF is still a very big player in the development of manpower.
Is the ministry even aware that the PTDF sponsored a national gap analysis in welding education and workforce development that was very successful just few years back? Did the ministry call for this data or request a presentation of the findings by the team?
PETAN are currently the undisputed champions of African content initiative. They have a deeper understanding of the dynamics at play in the industry, that there needs to be a very rich blend of local and integrated content. The reputation of PETAN is not necessarily propaganda but well-earned with data backing.
I align with the position of Clement Eribo “launching is just a mere formality. “The policy, whether it is good or not, is not what I am after now. What I am after is the implementation, which is dead on arrival. They want to make money at the expense of the youths who want to enlist into the (welding) program”
If we are permitted to call a spade, a spade and not a shovel then I will readily tell you that there are hundreds of thousands and maybe millions of coded welders in Nigeria. There are here, there and everywhere. Go to the Nigerian Welders Association (NWA), Nigeria Welders and fitters Union (NIWELFU). They have some of the finest skilled coded welders that Africa can boast. These people are being exported daily and accurately addressing welding challenges all over Africa. The issue that is lacking is building and sustaining a functional manufacturing ecosystem that can steadily engage these people. The lack of a sustainable and strategic manufacturing ecosystem is the challenge in Nigeria and it the very same challenges across Africa’s 54 member state economies.
I do not know the Honorable Ministers in person, but the sincerity of the Permanent Secretary in a meeting with Prof Shehu Maaji, Alhaji Samaila Sifawa and myself does reflect does show they were deliberately shaded from a lot of realities. The same does apply to the Director of STP.
I am very positive that Nigeria is currently in labor pains. Pains to birth a new Paradigm in Nigeria’s manufacturing space that will be both explosive and impactful in terms of employment and the socioeconomic indices. You can quote me on that.
I therefore propose that as the call to return to the table intensifies, I propose that the real representatives from NIW, and experts from Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board (NCDMB), Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN), Petroleum Technology Association of Nigerian (PETAN), Association of Non-Destructive Testing Practitioners (ANTEP) and the skill consumers be called to the table. In particular, Dormanlong Engineering, OilServ Ltd, Nigerian Foundries, Russell, Topline Plc, Bank of Industry etc. No! I did not miss any , its not just about company but involvement in national development.
These companies are very key to the next decade of exploits in Nigerian manufacturing ecosystem. This is my two cents
By Ayo Adeniyi executive director, The Welding Federation