OGTAN seeks law to end training of oil experts abroad
The Oil and Gas Trainers Association of Nigeria (OGTAN) has urged the National Assembly to raise necessary laws that would discourage oil companies operating in the country from trainings their personnel abroad.
Speaking when the group paid a courtesy visit to the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, President of OGTAN, Afe Mayowa, explained that training of experts in the oil and gas sector abroad is injurious to the growth of the Nigerian economy.
His explanation: “The country is losing tremendously. The reason is that Nigeria has to be very patriotic. For example, the economy of Dubai and Ghana are being been boosted by Nigerian companies taking Nigerian trainings, taking Nigerian personnel to Ghana, with Nigerian instructors, with Nigerian participants to Ghana to train. Most times, these people go for shopping not for training.
“I think the National Assembly and Federal Government must find a way to stop training of personnel in places like Dubai and Ghana. This is because this act is killing the Nigerian economy.”
He further called on the Federal Government and the National Assembly to mandate all oil and gas companies operating in Nigeria to patronize and make OGTAN members as a pre-requisite for registering and handling in the country in strict compliance with the Nigerian Content Development Act.
He also called on the Federal Government to partner with the association in the training and development of host community youths in line with NNPC quest for peace in oil and gas host communities.
In his response, Kachikwu, who was represented by the Director, Planning, Research and Statistics in the Ministry of Petroleum, Mr Olusegun Adekunle, said the various policy documents already put forward by the Ministry would benefit OGTAN in no small measure.
Kachikwu stressed that with the NCDMB constantly relating with OGTAN, members of the group should be rest assured that they enjoy the backing of the Federal Government in all their endeavours.
However, Executive Secretary of the NCDMB, Simbi Wabote, said the Federal Government cannot compel companies to discontinue foreign trainings for their personnel, stating that OGTAN needs to prove its professionalism as it is only then, most of the industry activities would migrate towards them.
He said: “First, OGTAN has to prove its professionalism internally, to enable the Ministry to make that decision. OGTAN needs to be very professional. It is not going to be by fiat; it is for OGTAN to demonstrate a very high level of professionalism.”
He noted that the oil and gas industry is very delicate and needs to have the right kind of people, adding that if the group demonstrates its ability to provide the right kind of training, naturally, some of its requests would be granted.
His words: “OGTAN is one of the organisations mentioned in the Local Content Act itself and one challenge that you face in the industry today is capacity. Most international companies, when they want to recruit they do not get the requisite skills and qualifications in the country.