10 July 2017, Sweetcrude, Abuja – The Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF), Dr. Bello Gusau, has said the National College for Petroleum Studies, Kaduna, would soon become operational.
Gusau said this while answering questions from journalists on Saturday after touring facilities in Abuja and Kaduna, where the agency is conducting examination for the PTDF scholarship scheme.
The examination was conducted across the six geopolitical zones for candidates who applied to undertake Masters degrees in various courses related to the Oil and Gas sector.
The PTDF boss recalled that work on the college, awarded at over N15 billion in 2009, was to be completed within two years. Eight years after, the project still remains uncompleted.
The Executive Secretary, however, assured that the project was at its final stage and “the institute would be operational sooner than later.”
The college is designed to run advanced professional courses for oil and gas workers in the ECOWAS sub-region.
Gusau said also that the PTDF had met with Vice Chancellors of 40 Federal Universities offering courses relating to Oil and Gas, so as to redirect its overseas scholarship award to local institutions.
The official said a substantial number of applicants taking the 2017/2018 PTDF scholarship test would be admitted in Nigerian Universities already running courses in oil and gas related areas.
Gusau, who said that over 4,949 candidates sitting for the examination were shortlisted nationwide, with 1,700 of them from North Central, added that the Federal Character principle in shortlisting candidates for the electronic aptitude test for its scholarship scheme.
“The idea of the Federal character is one of the reasons why the test is taking place in the six geopolitical zones.
“The Federal Character Commission (FCC) has representatives in all the centres in this ongoing aptitude test across the country,” he said.
He explained that the Fund considered areas of deficit and skill gaps in the oil and gas sector in selecting candidates.
According to him, the essence of the scheme is to train the required professionals to fill the spaces that would drive growth and development of the oil industry.
The executive secretary added that special preference was given to physically challenged candidates. “As the sector is growing, new demands for skills are also growing, so we will keep tracking that and tailor our capacity building programmes to meet those demands,” he said.
He expressed the hope that the outcome would help in ensuring that all qualified candidates were accommodated in the scheme.
The executive secretary assured that innovations had been introduced to ensure transparency and integrity of the process.
No fewer than 500 candidates with a significant number of women sat for the test in Kaduna centre, under the supervision of officials of the Federal Character Commission.