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Why we train electricity personnel for African countries – NAPTIN

Monday, 11 February 2019

Ahmed Bolaji Nagode is the Acting Director General, National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN). In this interview, Nagode says the institute is gradually becoming a hub for training of African electricity personnel.


There are some Liberia Electricity Corporation staff currently undergoing training in your institute. In what capacity is this taking place?

We have some staff of Liberia Electricity Corporation undergoing training in NAPTIN. As you know, NAPTIN is a capacity building institute of the power sector in Nigeria but our activity goes beyond Nigeria. With the mandate to build human capacity in the power sector based on our pedigree, we have been doing this for years in Nigeria and because of the level of achievements, we have extended this beyond the shores of Nigeria.

We have partnership with the West African Power Pool to train the staff of Liberia Electricity Corporation, who are presently here in Nigeria, on different skills such as system operation, distribution, customer service and others. So far so good, we are having 80 of them in training; we are taking them in batches. We are already on the third batch. We have two batches left before the commencement of election. We have decided to have them in batches so as not to in any way disturb their operations in their own country. We cannot bring all the staff out at once and it has been a very smooth operation. We are having it in Lagos and also in our Regional Training Center (RTC) in Kanji.

We are doing this because we want people to see what West African Power Pool is doing in building human capacity in the power sector in the West African sub-region. West African Power Pool is the creation of West African nations to build a common electricity market and to magnify the electricity market across the countries and they have been doing that. One of the components of the assignment is to also build human capacity in the power sector to ensure quality of electricity to be generated, transmitted and distributed, because manpower is very key; it drives all the networks. The African Development Bank (AfDB) is sponsoring this particular programme.

Apart from staff of Liberia Electricity Corporation which other West African country are you looking at?

We have equally had the opportunity to train staff of VRE and GRECO  in Ghana and this partnership has really exposed us to the electricity system of Ghana, and how we can proffer solution to them but we are looking forward to going beyond that. We are looking forward to train the staff of Gambia Electricity Corporation, we are looking forward to training the staff of Sierra Leone and probably after we must have developed our language lab, we will look at the French speaking countries in West Africa.

We have partnership with Association of Power Utilities of Africa (APUA). Under APUA, we have trained staff of electricity companies in Nigeria i.e. Transmission Company of Nigeria (TCN) and the distribution utilities. Last year we trained altogether about 600 staff of the utilities in Nigeria. So, we are looking forward to extending our activities to Gambia and as a big brother, Nigeria has a role to play in giving support to all these countries to ensure that they have stability and quality electricity supply and to ensure that we play our own part in achieving a common market for electricity, whereby you can be in Gambia and buy power in Nigeria.

That is the ultimate goal – to have a common market – and this will help us to utilise our potentials in the West African sub-region.

 How do you follow up on these trainings?

What we do is after training, we have an opportunity to visit Liberia to really find out what is going on in terms of the impact of the training on the staff and then the impact on the productivity when it comes to electricity in Liberia because definitely the training is aimed at building a very vibrant, efficient and effective work force that will be able to deliver the power needs of the countries.

Again, we are going to visit Liberia, we have done it before, we were in Liberia in April last year to do presentation of certificates and also to seize the opportunity to visit their power infrastructure and then have an interface with those staff that have come to Nigeria for training.

 Who fund the training?

The project is under the West African Power Pool but supported by the African Development Bank (AfDB). There was another one we organised in collaboration with a French agency for development which is an international body that looks at the relationship between France and other countries.

Under the Muhammadu Buhari government, we are opportune to really have funding from AfDB, and from France due to bilateral relationship between the Nigerian government and the French government to transform educational training in the power sector. It is a very massive infrastructural fund that has been made available to us. We have completed all the due processes and we have already started the draw down and this will definitely transform the face of vocational training in Nigeria. It will not only improve the power delivery but will equally provide jobs for the teeming Nigerians and especially, we are very gender sensitive for women.

So, by the time the programme comes on board, there will be opportunity for young Nigerians to build career in the Nigerian power sector, because jobs will be available and we are extending it to boost renewable energy which we know very well is the future of energy, that is delivery in terms of power that is envisioned to make renewable energy 30% in a 30,000MW proposed delivery.

One thing that is important in renewable energy is that it creates a lot of jobs and that will be a good opportunity for Nigeri

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The Independent Energy Watch Initiative (I-WIN), an enterprise of Energy ConServ and the Roundtable for the Growth and Development of Power (RODEP), is an online/web based power sector portal that strives to engage stakeholders and the Nigerian public on topical issues in the power sector.

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