• Wednesday, April 24, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

FG urges collaboration to curb $10bn welding skills loss in Nigeria

Uba Maigari Ahmadu (1)

The Federal Government through Uba Maigari Ahmadu, the Minister of State for Steel Development, has emphasised the importance of collaborative efforts to enhance welding skills across Nigeria and Africa. This call comes as the country grapples with an annual loss of $10 billion due to the importation of welding skills.

Ahmadu made these remarks during the 2nd Annual Assembly and International Welding Federation Africa Conference in Lagos on Tuesday, March 5, 2024. He emphasised the necessity of empowering a new generation of African welders through joint initiatives aimed at equipping them with essential skills and knowledge.

“President Bola Tinubu’s welding policy recognises the pivotal role of training and skills development in nurturing a skilled workforce capable of meeting the demands of a rapidly evolving industry,” Ahmadu stated.

Read also: $10bn Steel investment will catalyse economic growth – Tinubu

He highlighted the significance of institutions such as the Metallurgical Training Institute in Onitsha, dedicated to providing youth with the necessary skills in welding and metallurgy.

Ahmadu emphasised the government’s commitment to collaborating with the Welding Federation Africa to modernize training facilities, develop an industry-aligned curriculum, and establish international certification programs.

“By harnessing the collective talents and energies of our people, we can unlock the full potential of the welding sector and drive sustainable development across our continent,” Ahmadu added.

Read also: Nigeria spends over $4bn on steel importation annually — Minister

However, challenges persist. The demand for skilled welders across Africa surpasses the current supply. Ahmadu stressed the importance of empowering institutions like the Metallurgical Training Institute in Onitsha and similar establishments, providing them with the resources and partnerships needed to adapt their programs to evolving industry needs.

Last year, it was reported that Nigeria lost an estimated $10 billion annually due to the importation of welders with the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification.

According to Uche Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Nigeria has over one million welders, each earning approximately $150 a day, yet none possess the international certification required to work in crucial sectors like oil and gas.

Read also: Idle Ajaokuta steel mill costs Nigeria N49bn

Nnaji further noted that the Dangote Refinery, which employed about 11,000 welders, did not include any Nigerians due to the lack of ISO certification among local welders, resulting in significant losses for the country.

To address this issue, Nnaji’s ministry intends to collaborate with the Nigerian Welding Association to establish hubs in the six geopolitical zones. These hubs will provide training to welders and grant them ISO certification, enabling them to work both within and outside Nigeria.