By Olasunkanmi Onifade
The Ministry of Science and Technology on Thursday inaugurated committees on drafting of National Policy on Welding as well as National Status Survey on welding and other related fields.
The Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, inaugurated the committees in Abuja.
Onu, while inaugurating the committees, said that welding would promote and enhance local content in the realisation of National goal of rapid industrialisation of the country.
He said that the Federal Government recognised the importance of welding in the nation’s economic development.
“Hence, in order to strengthen the sector, National Skills Qualification Framework was approved in 2014.
“This was designed to create a career path for persons willing to acquire necessary skills in welding and related fields that can receive National Certification issued by the Nigerian Institute of Welding (NIW).
“As a result of this, in addition to the desire of government to promote rapid industrialisation, serious efforts are ongoing to revive the Steel Industry in the country,” Onu said.
He said that the policy would among many things keep Nigerian jobs for Nigerians and reduce capital flight arising from importation of skilled personnel.
Onu said that it was in furtherance of government intention to strengthen local practice in engineering, especially in the specialised area of Welding and fabrication that the ministry was collaborating with NIW.
He said that the National policy and survey had become important at this time that many youths are unemployed, adding that all young Nigerians ready to work can find quality jobs to do.
“When we look at welding, it is easy for us to forget that we cannot build cars, buses, locomotive wagons, boats, ships, submarines, gas pipelines, equipment for deep water exploration and aeroplane
“Others are space crafts, tractors, harvesters, storage facilities for farm produce, high quality modern buildings, fire fighting heavy trucks, rockets, weapons to defend the nation, to mention but a few without welding.
“The country relied on foreigners to do all these.
“We must work together as a nation to ensure that all these things that we currently import into the country will in the future be manufactured and produced locally in Nigeria,” Onu said.
He said that NIW would work with National Centre for Technology Management (NACETEM) to achieve the noble goal within three months to prepare the necessary documents for Federal Executive Council’s consideration and approval.
Onu said that the policy would reposition Nigeria in the practice of welding and welding-related activities, which include construction manufacturing, production, training, quality control and assurance.
The President of NIW, Mr Solomon Edebiri, said that there was the need to create a solid government influence in the practice of welding in Nigeria.
He said that the establishment of the policy would strengthen the implementation of the Presidential Executive Order number five.
He said that the members of the committees were carefully selected to cut across various sectors from the industry and the private sector as well as government institutions.
Prof. Okechukwu Ukwuoma, the Chairman of the committee on Drafting of National Policy on Welding and its related fields said there was need to enhance welding capacity as a vital tool in economic development.
According to the don, it has the potential of growing Nigeria’s GDP by eight million dollar to 10 million dollars annually. (NAN)