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FG To Reverse Trend Of Foreign Artisans Taking Up Jobs For Nigeria’s Artisans

Nigerian government is collaborating with Abu Dhabi for the supply of 14,000 qualified artisans to work in the United Arab Emirates(UAE).

The collaboration is through the government’s national framework- the “Skill-Up Artisans” (SUPA) programme.

Senior Special Assistant to President Bola Tinubu on Media and Publicity, Temitope Ajayi, disclosed this in a statement on Thursday in Lagos.

He said the initiative will be implemented through the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).

Ajayi said the overarching objective of SUPA was to drive national development, ensure the availability of skilled artisanal workforce for domestic industries and create a sustainable pipeline for labour export.

“Denmark, Germany, UAE, Estonia, United Kingdom, Ireland and many other countries are introducing various Visa categories to attract artisans from Africa.

“To boost the pool of local artisans with proficiency in in-demand skills, President Tinubu has mandated the ITF to retrain and ensure 20 million artisans in Nigeria are properly certified over the next five years.

“This is to make them become competitive and be able to take full advantage of job openings locally and abroad.

“The President also directed that the ugly trend of artisans from China, Philippines and neighbouring West African countries taking up jobs meant for artisans in Nigeria should be reversed,” he said.

Ajayi noted that in the last decade, many oil service companies and IOCs operating in Nigeria have struggled to get welders, plumbers, electricians, etc to work on their projects.

More disheartening, the media aide observed, was that builders and construction firms in Nigeria had resorted to bringing in bricklayers, tilers, and carpenters from Benin Republic, Mali, Togo, and Ivory Coast to deliver on major projects.

“With the SUPA initiative, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Industry, Trade & Investment and the Industrial Training Fund now has a coordinated programme to standardise and licence artisans.

“SUPA will equally address outdated and skills deficiency in artisanal practice in the country,” Ajayi said.

According to Ajayi, the Director General of ITF, Afiz Oluwatoyin, while speaking on the importance of upskilling artisans for national development, explains that the initiative is aimed at ensuring Nigerian artisans can compete globally.

“Oluwatoyin noted that in the past, Nigerian artisans had been operating like illiterates and low-level people when compared to foreign countries where artisans were well regarded contributors to economic growth.

“In some countries, artisans earn more than professors and other white-collar workers.

“In countries like the U.S. and Europe, if you are not strong financially, you may not be able to pay them. They are well respected.

“When I came down here, I saw people from other countries taking up jobs. We don’t want quackery in Nigeria. We want standout artisans that can stand up anywhere in the world and measure.

“We want to upgrade Nigerian artisans to international standards,” Oluwatoyin was quoted as saying. – PM

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