Executive Vice President and CEO of the National Agency for Science and Engineering Infrastructure (NASENI), Prof. Mohammad Sani Haruna, said yesterday that only countries that invest in technology can achieve this.

He said it was time to revive craft schools, technical and vocational centers and technical colleges to train the critical mass of artisans Nigeria needs. He also said that the quality of human capacity in a nation shapes and determines its progress.

Haruna made the introductions at the groundbreaking ceremony of the NASENI Skills Acquisition Center, Bagudo in Kebbi State.

He said President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the construction of skills development centers to meet the challenges of technological gaps and fill the void created by the shortage of craftsmen.

“It is the quality of human capacity in a nation that shapes and determines its progress and sustainable development, not commodities or natural resources. Experience has shown that countries that invest adequately in technology acquisition and deployment are leaders in socio-economic development, even if they import all of their economy’s raw material needs.

“Craft schools, technical and vocational centers and technical colleges to train the critical mass of artisans that Nigeria needs have been abolished in most states of the federation or have deteriorated in structures and workshop equipment and laboratories.

“President Buhari-approved skills development centers for NASENI across the country, like the one we are starting to build in Kebbi, are designed to meet the challenges of the technology gap and fill the void created by the shortage of artisans, artisans and women.

“The centers will be adequately equipped from the basics to modern advanced training facilities and equipment to train a competitive workforce ready for the generation of self-employment and entrepreneurship.

The future of nations and societies is predicted and reflected in the attitude and preparation of the young men and women who are tomorrow’s leaders.

“An unemployed critical mass of young people wasting the most energetic period of their lives in drug addiction, political hooliganism and many crimes does not represent a bright future for any country. In fact, an idle mind (hand) is a devil’s workshop,” he said.

Haruna explained that with NASENI’s focus on acquiring skills, the nation will be able to maintain its critical infrastructure.

“Continuous skills development, youth empowerment, and the establishment of skills development centers across the country meet the Federal Government’s generation of new jobs and the provision of a competent workforce for the country.

The soft component of the manufacturing or knowledge-based economy is quality human resources. This is the most important component, without which the country will remain an import-oriented economy.

“The technical knowledge required to ensure the sustainability and maintainability of massive infrastructures such as railways, aviation, bridges, the health sector, energy and water resources, to name just a few, provided by the administration of President Buhari and also, what it is necessary to transition Nigeria to a manufacturing economy.”

Laying the groundwork, Kebbi State Governor Atiku Bagudu thanked Federation Minister of Justice and Attorney General Abubakar Malami, SAN and NASENI for bringing the project to Kebbi.