Nigerian Institute of Welders, NIW, and the Ministry of Science and Technology and have pledged to build local capacity in the nation’s welding industry to replace foreign welders from Philippines and the Far East countries whose annual repatriation stands at $5billion.
The Minister of Science Technology, Mr. Ogbonnaya Onu, who made the disclosure during a courtesy call by members of the Nigerian Institute of Welders, NIW, led by its President, Dr. Solomon Edebiri, in Abuja, said NBRRI will collaborate with the institute to build the much needed skills in that sector to gradually take over from both the foreigners and expatriates in the sector.
Onu who stressed the importance of welding to Nigeria’s economic development, said: “Welding technology is very important in all aspects of our economic life in fabrication, manufacturing and construction.
“You cannot have an aircraft industry without welding; you cannot have satellite technology and without welding cars cannot be on the road. You can see that welding is important to building vessels and communications mast, ships and vessels.”
He said if the country had in the past looked inward by manufacturing many of the things that are imported today, the country would have been creating large pool of jobs and wealth for its citizens, added that this will further assist in strengthening the economy out of its present state.
The minister said: “It is the responsibility of the ministry to support the institute, we shall collaborate with them and I commend them for the work that they are doing for the nation and everything that is necessary to make sure that we now build the capacity to have enough Welders that can help in the construction, fabrication and manufacturing sectors of the country.”
On foreigners’ domineering presence in the sensitive sector, he stressed, though the welding technology is not as simple or easy as some people think take it, because of the high level of advance and precision coupled with the quality that is required like in building aircraft, communications mast and satellites development.
He attributed the capital flight to lack of skills and capacity development is in the past, even as he noted that Nigeria didn’t have these skills.
Onu added: “I will also want to say that once we have that capacity, the expatriates and the foreigners will no longer be needed to be doing these jobs in the country.
Edebiri speaking, called on government to show more concern to the development of the sector, stressing that the ministry must regulate the sector through formal recognition of the institute.