Local content efforts championed by the Nigerian Air Force (NAF) and an indigenous oil servicing firm, Mudiame International Limited as well as the Nigerian Institute Welding (NIW) could conserve as much as $50 billion in the country, drastically reduce influx of expatiates overseeing maintenance of equipment and build in country capacity.
With a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between NAF and Mudiame, which has already led to the training of over 25 Air Force officials on equipment calibration, welding and non-destructive testing of equipment, the partnership could lead to manufacturing of equipment locally as part of efforts to pursue the objectives of the Nigerian local content Act.
The development would equally lead to domestication of key skills needed in the Air Force, Naval Force and allied industries in an attempt to reduce over dependence on foreign countries, especially Europe and America.
Speaking on the move during a graduation ceremony for the first set of Air Force officials trained under the MOA, Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Sadique Abubakar said the Air Force has signed partnership with about 100 local firms as part of measures to ensure local content objectives were achieved in the country.
With the country losing as much as $10 billion to artisans imported into the country for welding jobs in the oil and gas sector, according to NIW , Abubakar said the partnership with Mudiame would enable NAF to calibrate its equipment, conduct NDT and weld, thereby kick-starting the force’s centre located in Kaduna with limited or no assistance from external bodies.
Represented by NAF’s Director in charge of Aircraft Quality Assurance, Air Commodore Cosmas Ozougwu, Abubakar stated that the force has been taking most of its equipment out of the country for repairs and maintenance since the military arm is involved with a lot of aviation equipment, which require precision but decided to look in-ward to build local capacity.
“Our equipment needs a lot of maintenance. Before now most of the measuring equipment has been taking abroad for calibration and maintenance at a very exorbitant cost but the Chief of Air Staff said as long as we keep using foreigners to maintain our platforms, we not make any head way. These people are not always there when you need them and we cannot call yourself a nation if we depend solely on foreigners to maintain our platforms.
“The choice of Mudiame is the step for us because we didn’t have this level of equipment anywhere else. This development will help save taxpayers’ money,” he said.
Being an ISO 17025 accredited Nigerian based testing, calibration and inspection company offering services basically to the oil, gas and ailed Industries, Managing Director of the group, Sunny Eromosele, who disclosed that the group is strategically looking forward to addressing the challenges of skills in the Air and Naval in the country, stated that the firm has open up relationship with other African countries to address similar challenges.
Eromosele, said the group was already at the verge of completing a university with the aim of meeting industrialisation demands in the country, adding that the company would donate equipment to the Airforce kick-start its calibration and testing centre.
Eromosele, who appreciated the efforts of the Chief of Air Staff, stressed the need to sustain current efforts on boosting local content in the country.President of the Nigeria Institute of Welding, Dr. Solomon Edebiri, who lauded the initiative, stated the country is current working on a national qualification system to integrate all skills thereby domesticating over 95 per cent skills in-country.