29 March 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja — Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria OGTAN, said it had commenced talks with the Nigerian Content Development Monitoring Board to ensure that a portion of the Nigerian Content Development Fund, NCDF, is made available to its members.
In a statement in Abuja, President of OGTAN, Mr. Afe Mayowa, said members of the association would utilize the fund in building the capacity of indigenous operators and Nigerian professionals in the oil and gas industry.
He said, “There is a Fund that is set aside by NCDMB; one per cent of the fund that is set aside for training. We are working with the NCDMB to ensure that this fund is deployed to our members in upgrading our facilities and indigenous capacity in the industry.”
He, however, stated that for the effect of the fund to be felt in the country, Nigerians must focus on patronizing indigenous products, adding that efforts must be made to “patronize Nigerians, buy Nigerian goods and engage Nigerians, as it is very key to us.”
He emphasized on the need for the Federal Government to discourage companies operating in the country from conducting training for their personnel outside the shores of the country, as according to him, conducting such training outside the country is hurting the Nigerian economy and is encouraging massive capital flight.
Mayowa also called on the Federal Government to mandate all oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria to patronize and make OGTAN membership as a pre-requisite for registering and handling jobs in the country, in line with the NCDMB Act.
He urged the Federal Government to partner with the association in the training and development of host community youths in line with NNPC quest for peace in oil and gas host communities.
However, Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Mr. Simbi Wabote, said the Federal Government cannot compel companies to discontinue foreign training for their personnel, stating that OGTAN needs to prove its professionalism as it is only then, most of the industry activities would migrate towards them.
He said, “First, OGTAN has to prove its professionalism internally, to enable the Ministry to make that decision. OGTAN needs to be very professional. It is not going to be by fiat; it is by them demonstrating a very high level of professionalism.”
He noted that the oil and gas industry is very delicate and needs to have the right kind of people, adding that if the group demonstrates its ability to provide the right kind of training, naturally, some of its requests would be granted.
He said, “OGTAN is one of the organisations mentioned in the Local Content Act itself and one challenge that you face in the industry today is capacity. Most international companies, when they want to recruit they do not get the requisite skills and qualifications.
“Our hope is that OGTAN would be able to get its act together, establish standards that are acceptable to these international and local oil companies, because the oil and gas business is high-risk intensive and you need competent people to be employed in those sectors; be it at the lower levels of such organizations; mid-level or even at the highest echelon of those organizations, you need competent people and we are hoping that OGTAN becomes a platform where we can build those capacities that are required in the oil and gas sector.”