On the average, Nigeria spends $10 billion every year to import certified welders engaged in various sectors of its economy, especially the oil and gas sectors, the Managing Director, Mudiame International Limited, Sunny Eromosele, has disclosed.
Eromosele, noted that Nigeria’s current economic situation and unemployment crisis could worsen if the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB); Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN) and other stakeholders fail to double efforts to develop local content in the country.
Speaking recently at a briefing on national welding capacity development plan in Abuja, Eromosele stated that even with President Muhammadu Buhari’s signing of an executive order – Executive Order Five, to reverse job loses to expatriates and boost economic activities in the country, Nigeria still spend over $10 billion yearly to hire certified welders into the country.
According to him, the executive order aims to increase domestic production of goods and services, create jobs in science, technology and engineering, as well as prohibit issuing of visas to foreign workers whose skills are readily available in Nigeria.
Eromosele, who also operates Mudiame Welding Institute, stated that the country at the moment lacked the strategy to implement the content of the policy, adding that the current skills gap in jobs like specialised welding, had resulted in the influx of foreigners into the country.
He alleged that the country’s current railway projects and the ongoing construction of Dangote refinery, are being handled by over 90 per cent of Indian and Chinese expatriates.
According to him, MAN and other stakeholders must raise their pressure on the government to set up proper implementation mechanism for its executive order five, especially in the areas of strengthening institutions.
He also described as unfortunate the fact that international operators often insist on their standards to be used in Nigeria for in-country project works.
“That will not allow our Nigerian personnel to participate in project like the ongoing rail construction and Dangote refinery construction. About 90 per cent of the people working on these projects are Chinese and Indians,” said Eromosele.
He decried the idea of personnel certification system run by most International Oil Companies (IOCs) and service firms.
“We need the harmonisation of our personnel’s qualification so that the ideas of personnel certification system by some companies like Saipem, Chevron and others will be eradicated.
“Roles of stakeholders must also be harmonised so that the Nigerian stakeholders will have common goals and role to play on all project executed depending on their areas of specialisations,” Eromosele explained.
He further urged Buhari and the NCDMB to channel efforts at developing key sectors in the economy like welding.
“Welding is vital to national economy and part of our society’s infrastructure; it ranks high among industrial processes and involves more sciences and variables than those involved in any other industrial process.
“As a stakeholder and promoter of welding activities and practices in country, there are lots of challenges that are faced by the welding industry and welding practitioners in Nigeria, among such challenges to mention are few which include, interference by the international communities and lack of development of Nigeria national standards,” he stated.