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Skill Acquisition Necessary for Industrial Development – Minister

The Minister of State, Ministry of Steel Development, His Excellency Uba Maigari Ahmadu has stated that the promotion of skill acquisition is essential in propelling the industry forward, enhance human capital for economic growth, create employment opportunities as well as strengthen the Continent’s industrial fabric, .

The Minister made this statement on Tuesday, 5th March, 2024 at the 2nd Annual Assembly and International Welding Federation Africa Conference holding in Lagos, Nigeria.

Delivering the opening remarks, the Minister stated that the Conference represents a significant milestone in the collective efforts to promote excellence and innovation in the field of welding across the African continent that will enhance advanced welding technologies, foster collaboration and drive sustainable development in the region as well as promote knowledge exchange and best practices in the industry.

According to him, it was in recognition of the importance of the future of welding in Africa for industrial and economic growth that President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, launched the National Welding Policy in 2023.

He stated that: “I am reminded of the visionary leadership of President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR and his steadfast commitment to advancing the welding sector under the Renewed Hope Agenda. President Tinubu’s National Welding Policy, launched in December 2023 exemplifies a strategic approach to leveraging our natural resources and human capital to drive economic growth, create employment opportunities, and enhance industrial competitiveness. Central to President Tinubu’s welding policy is the recognition of the critical role played by training and skills development in building a skilled workforce capable of meeting the demands of a rapidly evolving industry”.

Speaking further, Ahmadu disclosed that the Metallurgical Training Institute NMTI Onitsha, an institution dedicated to equipping youths with the requisite skills and knowledge in welding and metallurgy has a pivotal role to play in achieving excellence in welding education as it offers state-of-the-art facilities, world-class training programmes with expert faculty members, adding that through its innovative curriculum and hands-on learning approach, the institute is empowering youths with the practical skills and technical expertise needed to excel in the welding profession.

The Minister assured of the Nigerian Government’s firm commitment to work hand-in-hand with Welding Federation Africa to explore partnerships in the areas of: Modernizing welding training infrastructure with cutting-edge technology and equipment; Developing industry-aligned curriculum that equips graduates with the skills demanded by the modern workforce; Establishing international certification programmes to ensure the quality and mobility of our welding professionals; Investing in targeted outreach programmes to encourage young Nigerians, particularly women and those in underserved communities, to pursue careers in welding; Promoting the economic viability of the welding profession by creating attractive career paths and offering competitive compensation, among others.

He commended the Welding Federation Africa for its tireless efforts in promoting excellence and collaboration in welding across Africa and urged stakeholders to seize the opportunities afforded by the Conference to forge partnerships, share knowledge, and chart a course towards advancement of welding and joining science for a safer and prosperous future for the welding industry in Africa.

Speaking at the event, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment, Amb. Nura Abba Rimi, represented by Director Industrial Development, Muhammad Bala, stated that the the Ministry is committed towards implementing Strategic Policies to enhance the fabrication of machineries and equipment, aligning with the evolving landscape of materials manufacturing technologies. Adding that the theme, “Materials Manufacturing Technologies: Managing Capacity in Africa,” deeply reflects the essence of the Ministry’s ongoing efforts to manage and expand manufacturing capacity within Africa.

He revealed that the Ministry has entrusted the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) with a strategic order, aimed at prioritizing and expediting welding skills development initiatives, stating that the ITF, is dedicated to stimulating skills, improving productivity, and fostering value-added production. He enjoined the Welding Federation (TWF) to collaborate with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in order to access funds, noting that by joining forces, stakeholders can collectively address the pressing issue of the skills gap in welding-related industries in Nigeria.

Earlier, the Chairman of the Welding Federation (TWF) Conference Management Committee, Dr. Austen Timi Peters stated that the Federation, fully developed will shore up Forex and contribute to the growth of the economy, stating that, developing welding skills “can take unemployed youths off the streets”.

Other speakers at the event includ; the Chairman, Petroleum Technology Association (PETAN); President, Council of Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN); President, international Institute of Welding with Delegates from all over Africa.

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