Oluwasegun Babalola with Agency Report
The Petroleum Technology Development Fund says its scholarships are being awarded strictly on merit in line with the Federal Character regulations.
According to the PTDF, equal numbers of scholarships are awarded to each state, with additional slots made available for the oil-producing states.
The Executive Secretary of PTDF, Dr Bello Gusau, said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria in Abuja on Tuesday.
The PUNCH earlier reported that 9,659 Nigerians had been trained on its overseas and in-country scholarships since its inception.
Following this report, the PTDF official said the merit-based selection was done to ensure fairness, equity and fair play in the scholarship allocations.
Gusau explained that additional slots were also made available for the best female candidate from each geopolitical zone.
As for people with disabilities, he said every effort was made to ensure that physically challenged candidates were provided with accessibility facilities to enable them to participate in the selection process at no disadvantage.
He said in 2022, under the fund’s In-Country Scholarship Scheme, the PTDF provided scholarships to 19 undergraduates and one master’s degree award to Persons Living with Disabilities.
In order to monitor the progress of beneficiaries of PTDF grants in local and foreign institutions, he said awardees’ schools (supervisors) were required to forward regular progress reports.
He further said that scholars falling below the required standards were at risk of having their scholarships revoked.
He added that regular monitoring visits were conducted by the fund’s staff members to have a firsthand assessment of the scholars’ progress and general welfare.
On remarkable contributions made in the development of the petroleum sector since its establishment, he highlighted some of its contributions going by the mandate of the fund.
He said the fund had provided scholarships, wholly and partially, to successful master’s and PhD applicants that undertook petroleum-related courses.
The PTDF boss said the fund had also made available suitable endowments to deserving Nigerian Universities under the fund’s Endowment Programme.
As part of the mandate of the fund, he said, PTDF had provided suitable books and journals through its Strategic Planning and Documentation Department.
“The fund provides training to major stakeholders in the industry including staff of Ministry of Petroleum Resources, Nigeria Midstream and Downstream Petroleum Regulatory Authority and Nigeria Upstream Petroleum Regulatory Commission.
“It also provides training to the Training Institute, Nigerian National Petroleum Company Ltd., National Oil Spill Detection and Recovery Agency, Union Leaders of PENGASSAN and NUPENG and other stakeholders in the oil and gas industry.
“The training is designed for participants to acquire new skills and techniques to improve their effectiveness and efficiency in the performance of their jobs,” he said.
Gusau further said that the fund had provided support to Nigerian university lecturers under its University Lecturers’ Skills Enhancement Training Programme.
“Under the programme, lecturers from selected oil and gas-related departments of Nigerian universities are sponsored to undergo training programmes in the UK and French universities with a view to exposing them to global best practices,” he added.
Speaking on the fund’s quest for creating the necessary synergy among stakeholders in the industry, he said PTDF had over the years built strategic collaboration with key stakeholders.
He listed such stakeholders as the Nigerian Mining and Geosciences Society; the National Association of Petroleum Explorationists, and the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Others listed included the Petroleum Technology Association of Nigeria, and the Nigerian Association of Indigenous Petroleum Explorers and Producers, amongst others.
“PTDF does this by supporting the associations through financial/material support in their conferences, seminars, and printing of journals.