As the “Buy Made-in-Nigeria products” campaign is gradually gathering momentum due to the support of the Federal Government, some engineers and technicians are getting closer to manufacturing made-in-Nigeria transformers. This, the Nigerian government believes, will solve the electricity supply problem in Nigeria.
The engineers and technicians, who are about 60, were sent to China to undergo training on how to produce transformers. The initiative, which is expected to bring about the production of Nigerian-made transformers by 2020, was first approved by former President Goodluck Jonathan and President Buhari gave his support for continuation.
According to the Executive Vice Chairman, National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Mohammed Haruna, China is a partner in the actualisation of the objective and the Asian country will account for 85% (which is $261.4 million) of the production while Nigeria will contribute the remaining 15%.
Haruna disclosed that the total cost of the project, which is in three phases, is $307.5 million. A factory for the production of Nigerian-made transformers would be set up in the country in preparation for the production kickoff date.
Haruna said Nigeria could profit from its power predicament.
“The agreement is to ensure that Nigeria is able to produce world-class power distribution transformers. From its design to the material selection and production, to its installation, commission and maintenance.
“As a result of that collaboration, we currently have 60 qualified engineers and technicians in China training to specialise in all the aspects of this production at the China Great Wall Industry Corporation. The second component of this collaboration is high voltage technology because currently in Nigeria, it is only at the University of Lagos that has high voltage technology centre for testing equipment in the power sector.
“The final component is, we are manufacturing solar modules in Karshi, but we import certain raw materials. The most important raw material – the solar cells – are not produced in Nigeria.
“The Chinese are providing this support, In fact, 85% (or 261.4 million dollars) of the funds required for the three projects is being provided by the Chinese government through the CADFund. These are what the collaboration is all about and it is very good for Nigeria because it will help us produce substantial components of local content in the power sector.”
About engineers and technicians: Haruna disclosed that the training duration for the 60 engineers and technicians varies. The training had started in September and the longest training will last for six months while the shortest will last for three months.
“The project has already started. The training is according to the work plan because our system is such that the 60 trainees would be the ones to participate in the installation of the facilities in Nigeria.
“They started training in September and the training is for various durations. While some people’s training would be for six months, some engineers would be trained for four months and some others for three months
“We do not want the Chinese to come and do the installation for us; our own engineers would be trained adequately to come and do the installation for ease of sustainability and maintenance.
“It is our hope that if things go as scheduled, depending of course on availability of funds from our own end, by February, March next year, machines would have started arriving.
“We would not start producing by February/March because the factory itself will take two to three years to set up.”