The Federal Government of Nigeria has revealed that the country loses an estimated 10 billion dollars annually by importing welders with international certification, despite having millions of local welders.
This revelation came as the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Technology, Chief Uche Geoffrey Nnaji, unveiled the National Policy on Welding and Welding-related Fields along with a Strategy Implementation Action Plan on Monday in Abuja.
Chief Nnaji emphasized that the lack of internationally recognized certification for industry practitioners has led to the displacement of local service providers by imported welders.
He said, “Despite having millions of welders, Nigeria still loses an estimated $10 billion annually in revenue by importing welders with international certification, displacing the country’s local service providers due to a lack of acceptable accreditation.”
“Research has shown that welders’ contribution to all fabricated products exceeds 70%, with most welder-wage components unwittingly exported. The influx of foreign welding personnel, particularly in the oil and gas industry, demands special attention.”
“It is concerning that the lack of internationally recognized certification of industry practitioners has prevented our indigenous welding sector, which should be making a substantial contribution to Nigeria’s economy, from exploiting the myriads of opportunities, particularly in the oil and gas industry and exporting them to an influx of foreign welding personnel.
“Consequently, we have introduced the National Policy on Welding and Welding-Related Fields to address this issue and promote the use of local welding personnel in critical economic sectors.”
Highlighting the need to empower local welding professionals, the Minister announced the collaboration between the Federal Government and the Nigerian Institute of Welding to establish six Centers of Welding Excellence in the six geopolitical zones.
“The initiative aims to promote local content utilization in alignment with the objectives of Presidential Executive Order No 5, which seeks to boost local content in production,” he said.
He added that these centers will provide training and ISO certification to local welders, enabling them to contribute their expertise locally and internationally.