Nigeria loses $10b yearly to imported welders – FG


Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology, Uche Nnaji, has said Nigeria loses $10 billion yearly to imported certified welders engaged in various sectors of the economy.

Uchenna Nnaji, Minister of Innovation, Science and Technology

The economic drain is a consequence of the nation’s persistent preference for foreign expertise in the welding sector, raising concerns about the impact on local businesses and the broader economy.

Welding, a crucial component of various industries such as construction, manufacturing, and infrastructure development, has witnessed a surge in demand in Nigeria. However, the country’s dependence on foreign welders has resulted in a significant outflow of funds, contributing to the widening trade deficit.

The imported welders, often hired to meet the demand for specialized projects, command higher fees than their local counterparts. This financial leakage not only affects the nation’s balance of payments but also hampers the growth of the domestic welding industry.

Industry experts suggest that the root cause of this phenomenon lies in the perceived gap in skill and expertise between local and foreign welders. Many project owners and contractors express a lack of confidence in the capabilities of Nigerian welders, often opting for foreign professionals for complex and large-scale projects.

Government officials and stakeholders are now grappling with the urgent need to address this issue and revitalize the local welding industry. The potential loss of billions of dollars annually has prompted calls for strategic investments in training programs, technology, and infrastructure to enhance the skills and capabilities of Nigerian welders.

In response to these concerns, the Nigerian government has initiated discussions with key stakeholders, including representatives from the welding industry, educational institutions, and labor unions. The aim is to develop a comprehensive strategy to bridge the skill gap and boost the competitiveness of local welders in both national and international markets.

Additionally, industry leaders are advocating for the enforcement of policies that promote the hiring of local welding professionals for government projects. This move is expected to create a more level playing field and encourage the utilization of indigenous expertise.

As Nigeria strives to diversify its economy and reduce dependency on imports, addressing the significant financial drain caused by the reliance on foreign welders emerges as a critical step in fostering economic resilience and sustainability. The success of the proposed initiatives will not only safeguard billions of dollars but also empower local welders, positioning them as formidable contributors to the nation’s economic prosperity.

Source: The Guardian


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