How to engage 4,000 trained jobless oil technology experts

Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Abuja, Nigeria.

Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Abuja, Nigeria.

• Law to compel firms contribution to PTDF underway

Nigeria must develop a deliberate national policy that will aimed at exporting the over 4,000 experts trained by the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF) to other African countries where oil discovery is at infant stage.

Speaking at the first PTDF oil exploration production companies summit in Abuja, an oil and gas scholar, Dr Mohammed Ibrahim, said the rest of Africa is waiting for Nigeria to export experts into every parts of the region owing to its long standing years of exploration of hydrocarbons.

He explained that Nigeria needs to develop conscious roadmap that will be aimed at harnessing the trained 4,000 experts that have not been engaged by the oil and gas sector in the country.

He said: “The whole Africa is waiting for Nigeria to send in its experts. Presently there are about 4,000 trained experts that are jobless largely because there is no road map to engage them. Nigeria should develop a road map to export all these experts to other parts of the continent. Why should we learn how to speak only English? In is time for us to send our experts to learn how to speak Portuguese, French and Spanish in order for them to fit into our neighbouring countries such as Niger, Chad, Cameroon and so on. Time to wake up is now. Nigeria must have a genuine roadmap that can expert its trained human resource otherwise we are wasting our time.

This comes as there are plans by the National Assembly to pass a legislation that will compel oil firms in the country to contribute a part of there training fund to the training of oil and gas experts by the PTDF.

The Chairman Senate committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), Tayo Alasoadura, said the levies become necessary in the face of dwindling resources available to the PTDF in the discharge of its training of local manpower for the nation’s oil and gas sector.

His words: “The Act establishing the PTDF provides for its major sources of funding as sums by the Federal Government in respect of oil prospecting or mining concessions from leases. However, over the years the PTDF money in the reserve in the Central Bank of Nigeria is not always made available to it as at when due. In fact, from the records I have come across as Chairman Senate committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream), most of their funds are not released to them of recent. Invariable this has led to the scaling down of its operation which informs our thinking in the legislature about the possibility of passing a law to ask the respective oil producing organizations either those that belong to the Federal Government or international oil companies to contribute a certain percentage of their training budget as statutory to the PTDF. This becomes neccasry because what we have now is voluntary but we want to make it compulsory that such monies be made available to the PTDF in order to enhance its training programmes.”

He stressed that the objective of the one-day summit was to proffer solution to meeting the deficit in the funding of the Fund occasioned by the non-consistent releases of its statutory reserves by the CBN.

He further explained that though there are provisions for willing donations by the oil companies, there is the need to ensure the law provides for ‘compulsory given’.

But in his presentation, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurship, Dr Ayodele Ajayi, opined that instead of levying oil companies for a fraction of their training fund, government should focus on engendering Research and Development (R&D) programmes that will transform the firms into equal partners in finding the right mix for the development of the oil and gas sector in general.

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PTDFTayo Alasoadura
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