The Petroleum Technology Development Fund says it has trained 9,659 Nigerians on its overseas and in-country scholarships since its inception.
Speaking with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Monday, The Executive Secretary of the PTDF, Dr Bello Gusau, said that the beneficiaries had acquired first degrees as well as master’s and doctoral degrees.
According to Gusau, PTDF, under its fund’s strategic direction, provided these respective scholarships to applicants in the United Kingdom, Germany, France, China and Malaysia.
He said that the fund sponsored students/awardees in all major disciplines related to oil and gas and energy industries, including engineering, geosciences, environmental studies, computing and management.
This has enhanced the upward shift of local content contribution to the industry, facilitated knowledge transfer and driven the development of indigenous research and the growth of Nigerian companies,” Gusau said.
He noted that the utmost desire of the fund was for the knowledge acquired to be transferred to others, both in the public and private sectors so as to develop specialised indigenous human capital expected to take over from the expatriates.
The PTDF boss also said that the fund had committed hundreds of millions of dollars to sponsoring Nigerians over the years on various training programmes while striving to achieve its mandate since its inception in 2002.
“Information related to the fund’s spending, as detailed in our audited accounts, can be accessed by any interested party under the provisions of the Public Information Act and other extant regulations,” he affirmed.
Reacting to the impression that many students, after getting PTDF grants to study overseas, never returned home, thereby defeating the purpose of the investment, Gusau said that the beneficiaries were expected to return and contribute meaningfully to national development.
He added that the purpose of the scholarships was to train and equip Nigerians to participate in and contribute to the country’s oil and gas industry, either directly or indirectly, through academia.
“While we are not averse to our awardees remaining temporarily in their countries of study to gain relevant experiences, it is our expectation that PTDF awardees will eventually return to Nigeria and contribute their quota to national development.
“Awardees, especially at the PhD level, who are drawn from the academia and industry, are bonded to ensure that they return to the country and their places of employment after their studies,” he remarked.