By G9ija

The Senate, on Tuesday, considered a Bill seeking to establish the National Metallurgical Training Institute in Onitsha, Anambra State.

The National Metallurgical Training Institute (Establishment) Bill, 2021, which scaled second reading is sponsored by the Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi North).

The Bill was read for the first time on September 15, 2021.

Leading debate on the Bill, Senator Abdullahi said the establishment of the Institute was against the backdrop of the feasibility study carried out in 1979 by the German Agency for technical cooperation (GTZ).

According to the lawmaker, the German Agency observed the lack of skilled technical manpower to maintain and run the heavy Mechanical and Electrical equipment in the Steel, Oil & Gas and manufacturing industries.

He explained that the agreement between the German and Nigerian Governments out of which the Institute was established in 1980, required that the German Government provide equipment and organise foreign technical training for Nigerians, while the Nigerian Government should provide the physical infrastructure and the personnel to be trained.

The lawmaker noted that when established, the Institute would be responsible for the training of low and middle-level technical manpower in maintenance and repair works for Steel and Allied Industries in Nigeria.

He added that it would create a pool of indigenous technical workforce that can erect, commission, operate and maintain the steel industries thereby reducing Nigerian dependence on the foreign technical workforce.

Abdullahi stated further that the Metallurgical Institute would undertake the training of skilled personnel already employed in steel and allied industries, offer Advisory services to firms in the implementation of their training programmes, and provide jobs for youths through empowerment with appropriate skills and competencies.

“The uniqueness of the Institute is in its practical content.

“The establishment of the Institute has greatly minimized the need to send Nigerians abroad for vocational training and skill acquisition as well as assisting in job creation for Artisans, Technicians and our teeming unemployed youths.

“In 40 years of existence, the Institute has trained many Nigerians from six geopolitical zones in the country.

“The Institute was involved in the training of ex-militants of the Niger Delta Amnesty Programme. This result was a huge success,” Senator Abdullahi said.

Contributing to the debate, Senator Uche Lilian Ekwunife, drew the attention of the Senate that the Institute ought to be sited in Obosi, and not Onitsha.

The Senate President, however, advised the lawmaker to take up the matter with the appropriate authority seeking its establishment for consideration and possible correction at the public hearing on the Bill.

The Bill after scaling the second reading was thereafter referred by the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, to the Committee on Solid Minerals, Steel Development and Metallurgy for further legislative input.

The Committee was given four weeks to report back to the upper chamber.