In addressing youth unemployment and building sustainable human capacity development, Federal Government has given its backing to the first phase of practical technical training in meter installation and industry ethics by MOMAS Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company (MEMMCOL).
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Mr. Chinyeaka Ohaa, who was at MOMAS Metering School Campus located at Orimerunmu, Mowe Ogun State to flag off the free training programme graduate engineers on meter installation and maintenance.
Ohaa said that government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has provided an intervention fund to facilitate mass metering initiative targeting six million households.
Ohaa, said of the six million meters, local manufacturers are expected to supply 30 per cent of the number and that the training programme by MOMAS, a private sector initiative would help in boosting local capacity for meter installers that have been observed to be in deficit.
He said that this was in line with regulatory directive of 30 percent patronage of locally-manufactured meters as part of local content development initiative by government.
The Permanent Secretary also said that fund is being made available to indigenous meter assemblers to be able to meet the 30 per cent slot offered to them in the meter supply market.
“ The Minister of Power has been in MOMAS facility, and here I am to see what is available given the expectation of government from its local partners. For someone to establish and manage this facility for over 30 years shows deep commitment and today we are witnessing free training of engineering graduates in smart meter installation and maintenance as well as industry ethics.
I will report back and ensure we back this initiative because this is a huge leap in capacity building which the country needs access this point.” Ohaa assured.
“ MOMAS company should be commended for this laudable initiative in training 15 graduate engineers each from all the 36-State in the country.
Speaking on the initiative, Engr Kola Balogun, the Chairman, MEMMCOL, said the idea was to extend the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility to some States of the country to develop manpower capability among unemployed youths in Nigeria.
Balogun said that this will enable unemployed youths to benefit from the other value addition of the Federal Government initiative to role out some meters to consumers.
He said that, beside the facts that the initiative will enhance manufacturing sector of the power sector, the meter factories the extension is to develop manpower skills to be able to install the meter.
He said that the free metering installation programme training for unemployed youths is selected from the six Geo-Political zone of the country , which the first phase will take two weeks with offer to give certificate to all trained youths.
According to Balogun, in view of the recent efforts and commitment of the federal government at ensuring that customers are metered which culminated into an intervention by way of a Presidential approval of six million electricity meters to be deployed to accelerate revenue generation of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NASI) as well as eradicate estimated billings to customers.
“ MOMAS as a key stakeholder in the downstream of the power sector, we see the initiative as viable way to create employment opportunities for our youths and timing is unprecedented given the fact that one of the complaints by aggrieved youths doing the recent #EndSARS# protest is unemployment.
“ MOMAS also identified that there is urgent need to train more Nigeria on electricity meter installation to compliment the Presidential directive,” he said.
Balogun said: “ This is our own way of contributing our quota at ensuring that the initiative is successful. We have decided to train selected number of graduates across all the six Geo-political zones in the country on metering technology through our MOMAS metering school for free.
“ In addition to the training, we shall provide the trainees with kits, this will contain all the relevant tools for electricity meter installation, considering quantity of the approved metres.
“ There will be enough jobs for the youths to do and we would also engage them in the execution of some of our projects, “ MOMAS boss added.
The MOMAS helmsman said the there is need for government to consider manpower skills in the installation of the meters as this will also go a long way to develop the youth and create job opportunities for them.
He, however, lauded government for encouraging local capacity and local content development in Nigeria, adding that also informed MOMAS to take it upon themselves to develop manpower capability among unemployed youths.
Balogun said that over 15 State Governors had indicated interest to send youths to MOMAS factory to benefit from the company’s free gesture to train all selected dedicated individuals from their States to promote manpower skilla in the country.
Earlier, some of the trainees commended the management of MOMAS initiative towards empowering the teeming youths on training programme such as this.
Al-Hassan Mohammed Sanni, Coordinator from Nassarawa State said” we are here in the directive of the Executive Governor, Abdullahi Sule to partake in the free metering installation and maintenance training courses offered by MOMAS.
Sanni said that the training will also go a long way in supporting Nasarrawa citizens towards installation of metering in the State.
He said most of the trainees at the venue were graduates of electrical and electronics, adding that it will also create employment for their teaming youths back home.
Also, Lawal Olamilekan Nurudeen from Kwara State applauded MOMAS for the full package training offering the trainees, while urging government to also assist in supporting the youths in further training
It would be recalled that the National Mass Metering Programme (NMMP) has commenced distribution of free electricity meters to Nigerians with simultaneous launch of the scheme in Kano, Kaduna, Eko and Ikeja DISCO franchise areas.
The programme was initiated by President Muhammadu Buhari to ensure mass metering with the hope of putting an end to the problem of estimated billings in the electricity sector.