Abuja- The Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN) has lamented that over N900 billion is lost by Nigeria to foreign artisans and technicians due to shortage of Technical Education Manpower.
The COREN President, Engr Kashim Ali, who made the alarming disclosure at a stakeholders meeting in Abuja on Thursday, stressed that the skill gap developed gradually over the years due to retirement of aged artisans without young generation being groomed to take over from them.
He further said that 80 per cent of masons, carpenters, steel fabricators, plumbers, electricians, painters, and tillers found on construction sites across the country are foreigners from neighboring countries of Cameroon, Niger, Togo and Ghana.
According to him;“COREN is very concerned about the paucity of indigenous technicians and craftsmen in the country. The council carried out a technical audit of over 300 technical colleges, 98 per cent of the technical colleges visited were in very deplorable conditions, to which the council held a retreat in Calabar in 2013 to examine the status of technical education.
“The dearth of indigenous artisans and technicians in the engineering sector was a major economic setback, as the skill gap continues to widen, there has been huge capital flights as expatriates come in to fill the lacuna at the detriment of our country” he said.
In his address,the Minister of Power and Housing, Babatunde Fashola, represented by Engr Femi Amzat, stressed the need to focus on what makes an effective and responsive Technical and Vocational Education.
He also noted the need to examine if the system is aligned with different types of skills required for continuing education growth, adding that aging infrastructure can be improved, sustainable jobs for the youths provided, and the economy will grow by building a maintenance focused skilled acquisition system.
He said; “We must be thinking of a rail academy like Singapore to maintain and operate our new rail lines. We have to plan better for maintenance of our roads and bridges. A lot of Engineers are not registered, COREN should ensure it registers more engineers”.
Meanwhile,the Chairman House Committee on Works, Honourable Toby Okechukwu, opined that there is a reverse pyramid whereby Nigeria has shortage of artisans and engineers that will drive the process of creativity.
“It’s critical there is a reversal in the engineering. How come we don’t have enough engineers that can face our infrastructural issues in our country?It is an existential threat to our future if we fail to address the problem presently. It is in the best interest of engineers of COREN that we begin to do the needful” he stressed.
The theme of the meeting was “Addressing the Crisis of Technical Manpower Shortage in Nigeria”.