The Federal Government says it has begun the recruitment of 500 qualified engineers for the effective running of the nation’s 10 new power plants.
Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti made this known to State House correspondents after a meeting of the Board of the Niger Delta Power Holding Company (NDPHC) presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo in Abuja on Friday.
Fayemi, who is also a member of the board, said the exercise was meant to address the critical challenge of lack of skilled manpower in the nation’s power sector.
He said that lack of skilled manpower was threatening the smooth take off and operations of the new power plants built across the country.
”We also looked at the National Power Training Institute (NAPTI), all of these plants are coming on stream and we are excited about them.
“But one critical challenge that the country faces is the lack of skilled manpower for managing the plants.
“We do not want to have plants that turned out to be white-elephant or they turned out to be run by Chinese, Germans and Europeans who have built the plants.”
The governor frowned at the quality of engineers being produced by the nation’s universities and polytechnics, saying that such engineers were not employable in the power sector.
He, however, stated that NAPTI had since commenced massive retraining programme for local engineers and artisans who might be redeployed to operate the new power plants.
“You all know, I’m not telling you anything new, we have engineers being produced by our universities that are not necessarily employable and you need to retrain them in order for them to be able to function in these new plants that are being built.
“And NAPTI is intended to fill this gap by helping to retrain many of the engineers as well as artisans who will be needed to fill the gaps that are bound to exist in the new power plants that are being set up.
“So, we received the report from NAPTI Executive and from the ministry of power on our own interest and contribution.
“And a range of things were discussed in ensuring that those who come on stream, about 500 people are being recruited now to undergo training in NAPTI.
“And in addition to that, we need to ensure that this is done professionally through open advertisement, but also being mindful of spread and federal character in the course of this recruitment. ”
Fayemi commended the General Electric (GE) Company for building a local plant in Calabar for the production of spare parts for the nation’s power plants.
“We are asking all the manufacturers to take a cue from GE and set up plants here.”
He condemned the recent attack on one of the power plants in Delta, saying the incident had impacted negatively on the government target of energising 4000 megawatts by the end of the year.
“I’m sure you are aware of the attack on one of the plants in Delta State and the impact that might have on our earlier promise.
“We are still very confident that we will deliver according to the promise.” [NAN]