Chineme Okafor in Abuja
Nigeria and the government of France will in May sign a €50 million (N11.15 billion) loan for the development and upgrade of power training facilities in the country, the Director-General of the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN), Mr. Reuben Okeke has disclosed.
Okeke, who spoke in Abuja on Monday, noted that President Muhammadu Buhari is expected to sign the agreement for the deployment of the training loan on behalf of the country, while the President of France, Mr. François Hollande will sign for his country.
He stated this when NAPTIN graduated 142 power engineers under its Graduate Skills Development Programme (GSDP) programme. The graduate engineers comprise of 48 distribution, 58 generation and 36 transmission engineers.
The loan, Okeke explained, would be deployed to upgrade the training jobs of NAPTIN in the country’s power sector.
“By next month, the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria and that of France will be signing a loan agreement to get NAPTIN completely transformed, up to a tune of €50m,” Okeke.
.The NAPTIN head further stated that the fund would support the institute in its NGSDP programme. He explained that the programme would provide the necessary solution to the manpower shortage in technical aspects of the country’s power sector.
According to him,”Mindful of the fact that the success of the recent power sector reform will in part depend on the availability of a qualified workforce to meet the needs of the industry and the corresponding need to structure its operations to reflect the needs of the private sector, NAPTIN is currently working with a leading international consulting outfit through funding support of the Agence Francaise de Developement (AFD) to evolve a new strategic plan.
“This plan does not only encompasses the training needs of the new private entrants, but also their participation in the delivery process.”
Okeke noted that with the assistance of AFD, the institute would become a hub for power sector professional development particularly the West Coast of Africa and the continent.
He said 154 candidates enrolled for the NGSDP training in the 2014/2015 batch, adding: “Out of a total of 154 candidates that enrolled for the 2014/2015 batch, today, we are witnessing the graduation of a total of 142 engineers.”
Okeke also said the country needs about 17,440 technical staff including 6,000 engineers to maintain the 40,000 megawatts (MW) of power that the country plans to generate in the nearest future.