By Etuka Sunday
The Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, (PTDF), Mr Olufemi Ajayi has said that the activities in the oil and gas industry needed to be domesticated by developing appropriate human capital and technology.
Ajayi who spoke while addressing a global audience of international oil companies , leaders of academic institutions and international training providers in the oil and gas industry, at the 2nd Annual VTEC Global Conference organised by Global Education and Training for Energy (GETENERGY) Group in Houston, USA, regretted that after 50 years of petroleum activity in Nigeria, there is still no sustainable local manpower supply chain for an industry that is largely dominated by foreigners, with implications of capital flight and low value addition.
“The Nigerian oil and gas industry is still facing challenges in the area of developing appropriate human capital and technology to ensure the domestication of activities in the industry. Though oil-industry jobs in Nigeria are in high demand, yet companies needing qualified workers often have to look outside the country to recruit qualified staff or spread subsequent capital and effort on training their employees to do the work. A key reason for the problem is the disconnect between the needs of Nigerian oil and gas industry and the nation’s output of trained technical workers.”
He said as a result of this unsavoury development, the Nigerian government through the Petroleum Technology Development Fund is devoting huge resources in revamping technical and vocational institutions with a view to building technically and vocationally capable workforce that are currently in high demand in the oil and gas industry.
In a statement by the Head, Press and External Relations, PTDF, Kalu Otisi Esq, the
PTDF Executive Secretary said though the Fund has succeeded in training over three thousand Nigerians (3000) to acquire Masters and Doctoral Certifications in oil and gas related disciplines, it is imperative to shift emphasis from University Education and Certification to empowering the youths with technical skills and competencies that will lead to their immediate engagement in the middle level segment of the oil and gas industry.
“If we are to indigenise the sector and domesticate some of the production processes we need to get more of our people involved in the fabrication sector. For us in Nigeria where our President is implementing a Transformation Agenda that is centred on local content by increasing the involvement of the local Community in the production process, technical and vocational education is not an option but a way to go; it is the future of not only the oil and gas sector but the future of the economy as a whole”.
Drawing inspiration from the provisions of the Nigerian Content Act enacted by the Federal Government of Nigeria to enhance the domestication of activities in the oil and gas industry, the Executive Secretary of PTDF said technical and vocational education and training is a key driver for its implementation.
He therefore called for active partnership and effective collaboration among stakeholders to entrench technical and vocational training in-country for the benefit of the oil and gas industry as well as other sectors of the economy.