The Federal Government would, in May, sign a 50 million Euro (about (N11.15 billion) loan agreement with French government for capacity-building and upgrade of power training facilities in Nigeria, a government official has said.
Dr. Reuben Okeke, Director-General, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN) made this known at a graduation of trainees at the institute’s National Graduate Skills Development Programme (NGSDP) on Monday in Abuja.
Okeke said that President Muhammadu Buhari was expected to sign the agreement on behalf of Nigeria, while President of France, Francois Hollande would sign for his country.
“By next month, the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria and that of France will be signing a loan agreement to get NAPTIN completely transformed, up to a tune of 50 million Euros,” he said.
He said that at the current rate of N222.8 to one Euro, the loan would be valued at N11.15 billion, adding that the fund would help NAPTIN’s training programme.
Okeke said that the institute’s programme was answer to manpower shortage in the technical skills in Nigeria’s power section.
According to him, the success of the recent power sector reform will depend on the availability of a qualified workforce to meet the needs of the industry.
He said that there was need for NAPTIN to structure its operations to reflect the needs of the private sector.
He disclosed that the institute was currently working with a leading international consulting outfit for funding support of the Agence Francaise de Development (AFD) to evolve a new strategic plan.
The director-general said that the plan included the training needs of the new private entrants as well as their participation in the delivery process.
He disclosed that with the assistance of AFD, NAPTIN would become a hub for power sector professional development in West Africa.
He said that 154 candidates enrolled for the NGSDP training in the 2014/2015 batch, adding that “today the institute is graduating 142 engineers – 48 distribution engineers, 58 generation and 36 in the transmission cadre.”