The Federal Government has highlighted that Nigeria, despite having a large number of welders, continues to suffer a significant loss of about $10 billion every year by resorting to importing welders who posses an international certification. This economic setback arises from the country’s local service providers, primarily due to their lack of recognised accreditation. On Monday in Abuja, Chief Uche Geoffrey Nnaji, the Minister in charge of innovation, science, and technology, made a revealing announcement while launching both the National Policy on Welding and Welding-related Fields as well as a comprehensive Strategy Implementation Action Plan.
Also, the welding industry in Nigeria has been plagued by neglect and a lack of regulation for a long time. This has resulted in uncertified individuals dominating the sector, causing significant issues. In an effort to address this problem, a new policy has been introduced. According to reports, Nigeria loses billions in revenue annually for welders’ importation, contributing to the displacement of local service providers who lack the necessary accreditation. Despite having a large number of welders in the country, the absence of acceptable accreditation has hindered their participation in the market.
Numerous opportunities available in the sector should be capitalised.
Studies indicate that welders play a significant role in the production of all manufactured products, accounting for over 70% of the contributions. Interestingly, a considerable portion of the wages earned by these welding professionals is unknowingly exported. Therefore, it is crucial to address the issue of foreign welding personnel in the oil and gas sector, as it warrants particular attention. The failure to obtain international certifications for industry professionals has hindered the growth of Nigerian welding sector, which has immense potential to boost the country’s economy.
As a result, the sector has been unable to capitalise on the numerous opportunities available in the oil and gas industry and allow the entry of foreign welding experts. In order to tackle this problem and boost the participation of local welding personnel in crucial economic domains, they have taken a significant step forward by launching the National Policy on Welding and Welding-Associated Fields. According to him, the prevailing focus on international certification has pushed local welding professionals to the side lines, depriving them of chances to showcase their valuable expertise and make a meaningful contribution.
Local welders will be equipped with needed training and ISO certification.
Nnaji Furthermore shared that, in accordance with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda, the Federal Government will join forces with the Nigerian Institute of Welding to institute six Centers of Welding Excellence, strategically located in each of the six geopolitical zones. These centres will serve as catalysts for transformation by equipping local welders with essential training and ISO certification, effectively enabling them to pursue welding opportunities both domestically and abroad. He mentioned that the primary objective of the initiative is to support the utilisation of local content in accordance with the goals outlined in Presidential Executive Order No. 5. The intention behind this executive order is to enhance local content in production.
Similarly, Dr. Solomo Ededebiri, who serves as the Board Secretary for the Nigeria Institute of Welding, holds an optimistic view regarding the policy and firmly believes that if implemented effectively, it will undeniably result in annual savings exceeding $10 billion for Nigeria. These savings would stem from a reduction in capital flight caused by the unnecessary importation of different levels of welding professionals into the country for reasons that lack justification, such as obtaining equity funding for projects or serving the interests of technical partners.
Skill deficiency challenges will be bridged in the sector.
In many instances, the reason often cited for the lack of proficiency in certain welding procedures is a deficiency of skills. He is pleased with the inclusion of training opportunities in this policy, as it will effectively eliminate any claims of incompetence. Furthermore, this policy will revolutionise Nigeria’s role in the nation’s economic progress, establish a foundation for the manufacturing of completed products, and foster a robust presence of SMEs and manufacturing within the country, as stated by the speaker.