Stakeholders from various sectors including the former Military President, General Yakubu Gowon called for increased development of human capacities as the driver for national development.
The former military President made the assertion at the second Oil and Gas Trainers’ Association Annual Conference and Exhibition in Lagos.
General Gowon who was the chairman of the event mentioned that efforts must be geared at developing human capabilities in leadership and entrepreneurial skills. He said for the nation to be able to achieve economic competitiveness at regional and global stage, it is important to place premium on human capital development. He reiterated that the domestic values of the oil and gas can be retained only if there is continuous growth of the indigenous capacities.
In his words, “as you know, globalization and the knowledge economy are no longer matters of debate rather, they have become matters of existential considerations for nations and organizations alike. It is imperative that we place pivotal premium on human capital development.”
The Executive Secretary, Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board , Engr. Simbi Wabote while delivering the keynote address on the theme ‘Human capital development as a driver for national transformation: Issues And Possibilities’ calls for the need to speedily tackle the issue slowing down Human Capacity Development in our country.
Wabote stressed that government has been over stretched by the demands of education and training for the entire populace and could not completely tackle it all alone, hence the need for greater involvement of the private sector.
“A look at the Federal Government’s 2019 budget shows that N621billion is allocated to the Education sector with only N34billion or 5% of it set aside for capital expenditure. Despite our view about this budget provision, it cannot be compared to a scenario in which the 79 private universities were to be among those that the government had to cater for in its yearly budget. It is thus important that the government starts looking at passing over about 20% of the schools to private or religious organizations within the next 5 years in order to lessen its burden.” Wabote pointed.
Wabote highlighted the capacity building strides of the Board which has impacted positively on human, material and economic resources of Nigerians. He said, “We have taken specific steps to train maritime cadets, secondary school teachers, agricultural entrepreneurs, pilots, technicians, engineers, and environmentalists with over 6 million training man-hours delivered”
While commending OGTAN members for their efforts towards addressing human capital development need of the oil sector, Wabote charged the group to aim at being top-notch training provider so as to reduce capital flight.
In his remarks, the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu stressed the needs to set appropriate timelines to unlock the potentials that can make the oil sector drive itself in a way that will provide more opportunities for Nigerians.
“We must begin to focus on how to unlock potentials in this field that will enable us fix the peculiarities that is facing our industry. Our thoughts should be channeled to how do we fix powers, our aging pipelines and get gas to become a clean energy efficiency with less of government resources and more of private sector resources.”
Delivering his welcome address, the President, OGTAN, Dr Mayowa Afe noted that training and acquisition of necessary skills is a prerequisite for socio economic transformation. He asserted, “Our wealth is not oil and gas but the human capital that we are endowed with by God”.
While acknowledging the gains of the NOGICD Act 2010 as one of the best things that has happened to the country, Afe called for more opportunities to be given to indigenous trainers and involvement of OGTAN in the Board of various agencies of Federal government.
This year’s edition of the conference witnessed the conferment of award on the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu as the Oil and Gas man of the year and Engr Simbi Wabote awarded for his innovations in the local content development. Other awards were presented to the Group Managing Director, NNPC, Dr. Maikanti Baru among others.