07 June 2014, Sweetcrude, Lagos – Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Olusegun Aganga, has revealed Federal Government’s plan to partner NigerDock, the nation’s premier ship building and repair company, in churning out skilled manpower for the oil and gas industry as well as other sectors requiring specialised and highly technical workforce.
The minister made the disclosure during a visit to the Snake Island Integrated Free Zone in Lagos as part of the ministry’s review and assessment of the performance of the free zones in the country since their certification.
At the Snake Island, Aganga said he was highly impressed with the level of business in the Free Zone, describing NigerDock, the leading company operating in the zone, as a pride to the nation.
The minister particularly expressed delight with the level of facilities at the NigerDock Training School and the quality of products from the institution.
He explained that because of the specialised and highly technical nature of training at the institution, the Federal Government was ready to partner the company on skills acquisition training of Nigerians to help the country meet up with the manpower demand in the oil and gas sector and other industries where highly technical, skilled manpower were required.
This, he said, was in accordance with the resolve of the government to partner with any organisation that had something to offer towards moving Nigeria to the next level.
To bring the partnership to fruition, the minister said he would be directing the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, to work out the modalities for a take off.
Aganga also expressed delight that from a workforce of under 400 when NigerDock was privatised about then years ago, the Jagal Group – the new investors in the company – now employs about 5,000 workers in the firm.
He stated that as evidence of the level of business activities going on at the Snake Island Free Zone, the zone is currently the largest assembly of working cranes on one site in Sub-Saharan Africa.
As at moment, over 46 cranes are on the island, working on several projects, including the fabrication of platforms, bridges and jackets for Total’s Ofon, ExxonMobil’s Erha and Chevron’s DSO projects.
In his speech during the minister’s visit, Group Executive Chairman of the Jagal Group, Mr. Anwar Jarmakani, urged the Federal Government to support companies that have proven themselves in terms of investment in the economy and successful execution of projects.
Lauding the government’s Local Content policy, he said the success of NigerDock so far was mainly as a result of the existence of the policy. “All things we have done and all things we are doing today couldn’t have been possible without Local Content (policy),” he asserted.