Thirty-six employees of the Liberia Electricity Corporation (LEC) have completed a two-week "intensive training" in Nigeria in several professional areas, to enhance productivity of the corporation.
The training was held under the West African Power Pool (WAPP)-USAID Capacity Building Program, provided by the National Power Training Institute of Nigeria (NAPTIN).
LEC Human Resource Manager Henry B. Carter, Sr. said in 2009, WAPP Secretarial obtained a partial grant from the European Union (EU) to electrify some communities in the country, but the project will be supervised by their Ivorian counterpart.
Carter said LEC made WAPP to understand that once completed, those newly-electrified areas will require additional staff to operate and maintain the networks, as well as manage the commercial activities.
He said it was against this backdrop that WAPP decided to develop a training seminar under its USAID Assistance Program to build the capacity of new employees, who will commence operations. In this regard, LEC submitted a list of the 36 employees.
NAPTIN Director-general A.B. Nagode said the training was geared toward building the staff capacity in the energy sector in the region, including Liberia.
Nagode said Nigeria is always excited to assist Liberia in whatever way, considering the long standing relationship between the two countries.
The 36 personnel were trained in power transmission network and sub-station operations, maintenance, power distribution network and repairs, power system commercialization, power generation operations and maintenance, power distribution network design and operations, as well as power system planning and environmental safeguard guidance.
Mr. Nagode then assured NAPTIN's continued support to Liberia's energy sector.
Alpha Sylla, WAPP Coordinator for Capacity Building, said for several years now all West African countries have been facing an endemic crisis of power supply, which penalizes their socioeconomic development.
Sylla said the causes of the power crisis is one of many reasons, including lack of investment, maintenance of power equipment.
He said WAPP has made the issue of building human capacity as one of its major pillars for development strategies, thus prompting the training of the 36 LEC personnel.
Dr. John Gorlorwulu, USAID-Liberia Incoming Economic Growth Office Director, spoke of how important the power sector was to national development.
"It is the lifeblood of the economy, and so through power Africa, USAID remains committed in partnering with the government and the private sector to ensure that this gap in the development space is closed," Gorlorwulu said.
He called on the graduates to know that the value of the training is not merely reflected by the beautiful certificates and glowing recognition they received, "instead, your application of the knowledge you have acquired will determine the success of the training and your career."
Deputy Mines and Energy Minister Carlton Miller said training was crucial for any organization to develop.
Miller challenged the graduates to use lessons learned from the training to increase productivity.