20 April 2016, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Director General, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Engr. Reuben Okeke, has said the country needs 17,440 technical staff including 6,000 engineers to sustain the planned 40,000megawatts in the nearest future.
Okeke, who was speaking in Abuja at the graduation of 143 power engineers trained under the NAPTIN Graduate Skills Development Programme (NGSDP), called for more support to expand the institute’s capacity.
He said, “Since we started NAPTIN in 2012, we have not been able to cross 1,000 graduates, but with more support we can attain that in the next five to 10 years.”
He also urged the federal government to commit more funding to its infrastructure as it seeks to build 20 more schools and structures at its Abuja site to expand its capability, especially in training the over 12,000 craftsmen and artisans (non-engineers) for an advanced sector.
The NAPTIN boss, meanwhile, has disclosed that Nigeria and France will next month sign a €50m (about N11.15 billion) loan for the development and upgrading of the countries power training facilities.
Okeke noted that the loan, when accessed, would support NAPTIN in its Graduate Skill Development Programme (NGSDP) initiative, stressing that the programme was the answer to solving manpower shortage in the technical skills-set in Nigeria’s power equation.
He said, “By next month, the President Muhammadu Buhari and Francois Hollande of France will be signing a loan agreement to get NAPTIN completely transformed, up to a tune of €50m.
“Mindful of the fact that the success of the recent power sector reform will in part depend on the availability of a qualified workforce to meet the needs of the industry and the corresponding need to structure its operations to reflect the needs of the private sector, NAPTIN is currently working with a leading international consulting outfit through funding support of the Agence Francaise de Developpement (AFD) to evolve a new strategic plan.”
According to him, the plan does not only encompass the training needs of the new private entrants, but also their participation in the delivery process.
The NAPTIN boss added further that with the assistance of AFD, the Nigeria would become a hub for power sector professional development across the African continent.
Meanwhile, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Power, Works and Housing, Engr. Louis Edozien, has said attaining the 10,000mw promised by the president recently required a huge need for skilled capacity.
He enjoined the graduates to apply the attitude and the knowledge acquired to contribute their quota to attain the benchmark.
The institute admitted 154 engineers for the one year training in 2015 and graduated 143. While 58 were trained in the generation section, 36 went for transmission and 48 for the distribution value chain.
Mrs. Ojukwu Chinyere Blessing, who emerged the overall best graduate with a cumulative average of 82.8%, spoke for the graduates urging them to apply the knowledge they have acquired to reform the nation’s power sector. She described the graduation as an eventful achievement she had looked forward to.