By Okeoghene Akubuike
The National Automotive Design and Development Council (NADDC), has called on Nigerians to embrace the use of gas-powered vehicles to reduce dependency on petrol and diesel.
The Director-General, NADDC, Joseph Osanipin said this at the Awareness/Sensitisation workshop for the Northern Zone, organised by the Sector Skills Council (SSC) for Automotive Industry in Abuja on Thursday.
Osanipin said the Presidential Compressed Natural Gas Initiative (PCNGI) of the current administration was a commitment to ease the impact of fuel subsidy removal on Nigerians by reducing energy costs.
He said the use of gas-powered vehicles would also mitigate environmental concerns of greenhouse gas emissions.
“It is also a means of diversification of the Nigerian economy. It will lead to more job opportunities and wealth creation for Nigerians, especially for our technicians.
“These efforts by PCNGI and NADDC should be supported by all and sundry for the desired impacts to be achieved.”
Osanipin said the NADDC had been integrated into the PCNGI, adding that the council was already playing leading roles in the implementation of the PCNGI.
“This is because of the critical roles the council plays in the industry in the areas of technical know-how and expertise.
“The PCNGI is designed to facilitate the provision of workshops across all geopolitical zones and states with essential kits and comprehensive training for newly-employed staff.
“This will create new opportunities for technical skill development and employment for Nigerians.”
He said the NADDC was working with the Standards Organisation of Nigeria to come out with standards in terms of installation of Compressed Natural Gas(CNG), quality of the kits, and standards in dispensing and usage.
“After that, we need to certify and train those who will be fixing the cars during the conversion. We have prepared the training manual and will soon go for validation.
“We do this with other partners and stakeholder organisations to provide the necessary training for everyone in the ecosystem.”
Osanipin urged the participants to be prepared to acquire the knowledge needed for the move to CNG, saying we need to bridge the gap between the development in the sector and the knowledge we have.
He said to ensure skills development and international best practices in the automotive sector of the country, the council had established 21 Automotive Training Centres (ATCs) across the six geo-political zones.
“This is aimed at redefining the nation’s auto industry, job provision, and improvement in skills among technicians.
“This will in turn ensure prompt and efficient repair and maintenance of vehicles while ensuring the safety of the mechanics, the vehicles, and the environment. ”
Mr Francis Udeh, President, SSC, who spoke on the sideline of the event, said the workshop was the second in its series with the first held in Lagos for the Southern Zone.
Udeh said the workshop was aimed at sensitising all relevant stakeholders on the roles, responsibilities, and objectives of SSC to get their support and buy-in.
“We have different stakeholders who have no knowledge of the existence of the SCC and how they can maximise what the council has to offer for the betterment of their jobs.”
He earlier called on all the participants to partner the SSC, saying it will give them the advantage of quality recognition.
Udeh assured participants that the SSC had well-trained quality assurance managers who would be at their disposal at the workshops for certification.
He called on the participants to embrace the opportunities offered by the council for professional continuous development.
“The NADDC provides for all its members across the country by getting them into a league of professionals.
“If you operate alone, you will become obsolete, so it is good for you to be part of the council.
“Therefore when you return to your states, inform others that they need to be part of the NADDC and SSC to enjoy these benefits,” he said.
Sandra Aguebor, the first lady mechanic in Nigeria, said she started empowering women in 2004 and presently there are no fewer than 2,000 female mechanics with different skills in the industry.
Aguebor, who is also the Vice-President of the SSC, said money could be made from any specialised part of the automotive industry.
According to her, “we want to also inform the media, government parastatals, and agencies that the SSC has come to stay and we call for collaboration to move the industry forward.”
Mr Magaji Mohammed, National President, Nigeria Automobile Technician Association (NATA), in his message, said most of its roadside mechanic members were now experts in the industry.
Mohammed, represented by NATA Vice-President, Aliyu Ibrahim, assured that its members would follow all due process on any regulation brought by NADDC.
Mr Moruf Arowolo, National President, Motor Mechanics and Technicians Association of Nigeria (MOMTAN), represented by its PRO, Taiwo Phillips, appreciated the NADDC for the training given to technicians in Nigeria.
The News Agency of Nigeria(NAN) reports that the SSC which was established in 2016, sees to the formulation and reviewing of standards of occupational competence for the sector.
The SCC also ensures skills and workforce development of employees in the sector and influences how training and certification are delivered. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Vincent Obi