The private sector-led training of graduate engineers in meter installation and ethics that will facilitate mass deployment of meters across the country has been keyed into by federal and State Governments.
The Federal Government has said that it is backing the initiative as it will be able to create jobs for young graduates and Improve local capacity in the Power Sector.
The government said the initiative which began with the training of 300 youths in the first phase of practical technical training in meter installation and industry ethics by MOMAS Electricity Meters Manufacturing Company (MEMMCOL), will be fully supported.
Under the ongoing phase, State Governors from across the six geopolitical zones made nominations for the free training exercise.
The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power, Mr. Chinyeaka Ohaa, who was in Lagos on Monday, November 16, to flag off the training programme said the Government through the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, has provided an intervention fund to facilitate mass metering initiative targeting six million households.
Ohaa, said of the six million meters, local manufacturers are expected to supply 30 percent of the number and that the training programme by MOMAS, a private sector initiative would help in boosting local capacity for meter installers that have been observed to be in deficit.
The Permanent Secretary, also said that fund is being made available to indigenous meter assemblers to be able to meet the 30 percent slot offered to them in the meter supply market.
” The Minister of Power has been in MOMAS facility, and here I am to see what is available given the expectation of government from its local partners. For someone to establish and manage this facility for over 30 years shows deep commitment and today we are witnessing Free training of engineering graduates in smart meter installation and maintenance as well as industry ethics.
I will report back and ensure we back this initiative because this is a huge leap in a capacity-building which the country needs access this point.” Ohaa assured.
Speaking on the initiative, Engr Kola Balogun, the Chairman, MEMMCOL, said the idea was to extend the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility to some States of the country to develop manpower capability among unemployed youths in Nigeria.
Balogun said that this will enable unemployed youths to benefit from the other value addition of the Federal Government initiative to role out some meters to consumers.
He said that, besides the fact that the initiative will enhance the manufacturing sector of the power sector, the meter factories the extension is to develop manpower skills to be able to install the meter.
He said that the free metering installation programme training for unemployed youths is selected from the six Geo-Political zones of the country, which the first phase will take two weeks with offers to give certificate to all trained youths.
According to Balogun, in view of the recent efforts and commitment of the federal government at ensuring that customers are metered which culminated into an intervention by way of a Presidential approval of six million electricity meters to be deployed to accelerate revenue generation of the Nigerian Electricity Supply Industry (NASI) as well as eradicate estimated billings to customers.
” MOMAS as a key stakeholder in the downstream of the power sector, we see the initiative as a viable way to create employment opportunities for our youths and timing is unprecedented given the fact that one of the complaints by aggrieved youths doing the recent #EndSARS# protest is unemployment.
” MOMAS also identified that there is an urgent need to train more Nigeria on electricity meter installation to compliment the Presidential directive,” he said.
Balogun said: ” This is our own way of contributing our quota at ensuring that the initiative is successful. We have decided to train a selected number of graduates across all the six Geo-political zones in the country on metering technology through our MOMAS metering school for free.
” In addition to the training, we shall provide the trainees with kits, this will contain all the relevant tools for electricity meter installation, considering the quantity of the approved meters.
” There will be enough jobs for the youths to do and we would also engage them in the execution of some of our projects, ” MOMAS boss added.
The MOMAS helmsman said there is a need for the government to consider manpower skills in the installation of the meters as this will also go a long way to develop the youth and create job opportunities for them.
He, however, lauded the government for encouraging local capacity and local content development in Nigeria, adding that also informed MOMAS to take it upon themselves to develop manpower capability among unemployed youths.
Balogun said that over 15 State Governors had indicated interest to send youths to the MOMAS factory to benefit from the company’s free gesture to train all selected dedicated individuals from their States to promote manpower skills in the country.