NBTE boss seeks establishment of skills development fund to support ‘Panteka’ artisans

Prof. Idris Bugaje, Executive Secretary, National Board for Technical Education, NBTE, has called for the establishment of a National Skills Development Fund, NSDF.

According to him, the fund should be created to support the informal skills sector as a way of achieving self-reliance and economic growth.

Mr Bugaje said that such a fund would support the ‘Panteka’ market in Kaduna and other informal skills sectors across the country.

The executive secretary made the call at the graduation of the first set of artisans from the Panteka market in Kaduna.

The 23 artisans were trained at the Centre for Technology Development, CTD, Kaduna Polytechnic.

They were subsequently awarded the National Skills Qualification, NSQ, Level 3 certification by the Nigerian Institute of Building, NIOB.

Three of the graduates were members of staff of the board that formed the cohort and also achieved the certification.

According to Mr Bugaje, Panteka market has the potential to reinvent Nigeria and sustain a good future for the youths through creating wealth, employment, and bolster self-reliance in technology.

He also said that ‘Tradermoni’ and other political interventions have little sustainable impact on the nation’s economy..

Mr Bugaje described Panteka market as one of the greatest gifts to the Northern States of Nigeria, with its hub in Kaduna and several offshoots across the states.

He, therefore, said, ”In unleashing hidden talents, passing down invaluable skills and shaping the future of aspiring learners, Panteka must be supported by the government to bloom and reach its zenith.”

Mr Bugaje thanked the Rector and management of the polytechnic for not abandoning the CTD and its ‘Panteka Project’, adding, ”rather taking steps to further consolidate and expand its scope.”

Earlier, the Rector of Kaduna Polytechnic, Dr Sulaiman Umar, said the unique event was a realisation of one of the objectives of the institution to upgrade the capacity of the Panteka artisans.

”This is to make the market produce quality products with high precision and efficiency for local and international markets.

‘The certification of the artisans was aimed at providing them with necessary certificates that would make them available to the formal sector including foreign clients,” he added.

Umar recalled that in 2021, the polytechnic offered to train 70 artisans to acquire the NSQ Level 3 Qualification in their respective trades as a corporate social responsibility at no cost to the artisans or the Panteka market association.

He said the training was after the institution’s resolved to key into the NSQ framework that was approved by the FG and coordinated by NBTE.

The rector said, ”It is the mind of the polytechnic to support the artisans with equipment and tools that are either too expensive for them or rare to facilitate their otherwise tedious and sometimes unconventional production processes.”.

Umar disclosed that the polytechnic was on the verge of completing
its Skills Equipment Centre whose equipment and tools would be available to the Panteka artisans on demand.

He, therefore, called on all the stakeholders to support the initiative for the overall development of youths and make them self-reliant.

The rector thanked NBTE, NIOB, old Panteka Market Development Association, staff of CTD and other stakeholders for their support and dedication that culminated in the ceremony.

Also, Sulaiman Shehu, Chairman of the association said that the certification of the artisans would ensure more dignity of their skills.

He also said they would be more valuable and treated with respect in the adventure of selling their skills across the globe.

Mr Shehu urged them to be honest in their daily affairs and to ensure proper mentoring of the young ones on skills acquisition.

NAN reports that the graduates were certified on masonry, plumbing installation, welding and fabrication as well as electrical installation, among others.