The Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure, Prof. Mohammed Sani Haruna, on Monday unfolded plans to end the nation’s reliance on foreign artisans.
He said the President, Major General, Muhammadu Buhari, had given an order to the agency to equip Nigerian youths to reverse the trend of importing artisans.
He said the target given to NASENI covers modern massive skill acquisition training for artisans to be able to cope with global challenges.
Haruna made the disclosures during the inauguration of training and youth empowerment for youths in Ibadan, Oyo State.
He said the training was aimed at reversing over-reliance on artisans from neighbouring countries.
He said, “Artisans from neighbouring African countries today are taking over the few occupational jobs available in the built environment and in construction industry.
“The President has empowered NASENI to lead the nation to a manufacturing economy and undoubtedly this type of skill development is key pre-requisite, that is – competent workforce.”
“It is the instruction of President Muhammadu Buhari that NASENI must work hard to build critical mass of Nigeria to reverse the trend and provide competitive know-how to Nigerians to meet local demand and export labour abroad.
“The skill development in many specialized areas of need is ongoing and the trainees are expected to train others.
“The 100 participants in Oyo State were carefully selected through due diligence are all receiving their modern tools as start-ups.
Also, the agency in a statement issued by the Deputy Director, Information, Olusegun Ayeoyenikan, said state-of-the-art plumbing equipment, tools and diagnostic kits worth several millions of naira were distributed to over 100 youths around Ibadan.
NASENI had in August inaugurated similar exercises in Kebbi State where youths from the area were given training and equipment in modern farming.
Buhari is the Chairman of the Governing Board of NASENI.
While noting the training is a hands-on empowerment programme, Haruna said, “President Buhari’s intention is the prosperity of the youths and job satisfaction so they could take their plumbing work seriously and move to the highest level of efficiency and professionalism in plumbing.”
The Chairman of the Occasion and the member representing Ibadan North Federal Constituency, who also doubles as Chairman of the House of Representatives’ Committee on Science Research Institutes, Musiliudeen Akinremi, said Ibadan citizens were grateful to Buhari and NASENI for the intervention to upgrade the skills of plumbers in Ibadan and also giving new tools and technology for them to work with.
He said the youths and their empowerment had become the most critical socio-economic programme for the sustenance of any modern economy and also a glimpse at “the idea of what the future of the country will look like”
He charged the trainees to use the equipment and tools to increase their efficiency in the course of carrying out their tasks on site.