By Cecilia Ologunagba
The National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI) says 60 of its engineers on Tuesday departed Nigeria for China for four months training on manufacturing of transformers in Nigeria.
A statement issued by NASENI Deputy Director (Information), Mr Olusegun Ayeoyenikan, said the training was targeted at establishing a fully indigenous transformer plant to be operated and managed by Nigerians with local content as priority.
This, according to the statement, is a major leap toward establishing the Federal Government’s proposed Transformer Manufacturing plant and High voltage Testing Laboratory in Nigeria.
The Transformer Manufacturing Plant and Testing Laboratory are to be located at the Power Equipment and Electrical Machinery Development Institute (PEEMADI), an institute under NASENI located in Okene, Kogi.
It quoted the Executive Vice Chairman of NASENI, Prof. Mohammed Haruna, expressing his joy while addressing the trainees before leaving Nigeria.
Haruna said that he felt fulfilled that a new phase in the journey toward having Nigeria’s own transformer manufacturing plant and High Voltage Testing Laboratory had opened with the departure of the engineers to China.
He appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Science and Technology, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, for the confidence reposed in NASENI and its management to facilitate the project.
He also expressed his gratitude to the Chinese Great Wall Industry Corporation (CGWIC), a major partner in the implementation of the project.
He said that the engineers, on completion of their trainings, were to return to Nigeria to deploy different specialisations acquired in China along manufacturing line of transformer plant and High-Voltage Testing Lab.
This, according to him, includes the production of components and spare parts, bolts and nuts, machines and other equipment used globally to drive the power sector.
“This particular training is different from that which people normally go for overseas.
“This one is targeted at not only obtaining capacities but actually to set up a plant which will produce components, spare parts, utilize Nigeria local materials.
“It is also to achieve domestication of the technology behind manufacturing of transformers and also the High-Voltage Testing Laboratory”.
Haruna said that currently the production of transformers in the country was through assembling of parts, therefore they lack local contents.
“The practice is for importers to bring components and transformer parts from other countries for assembly in Nigeria.
“This mode of supply of Transformers to the market cannot develop local content nor achieve indigenous mass of experts for the country.”
Haruna said that the practice had encouraged the absence of national standards for transformers which circulate at the local market.
He said the establishment of Nigeria’s own indigenous transformers manufacturing plant would remove such anomalies.
In 2013, NASENI, through the Federal Government, signed an agreement with the Chinese Greatwall Industry Corporation (CGWIC).
The agreement could not be implemented until recently when the project received fresh boost and supports from Buhari and Onu.