From Teryima Ajijah, Jos
The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has said 23 million Nigerians are living in abject poverty, due to increasing unemployment rate, which represents about 33 percent of the current total population of Nigerians.
The Director General of the (ITF), Mr Joseph Ari made the disclosure Monday in Jos, Plateau State, while briefing journalists at the Centre for Excellency Jos, an ITF training centre, on it third phase; Strategic Positive Direction policy, aimed at tacking poverty amongst citizens.
“Unemployment in Nigeria today is at 33 percent as over 23 million Nigerians that are desirous to work cannot find jobs, mostly because of absence of requisite skills.
“Poverty is equally on the rise with some estimates placing the number of Nigerians that are living in poverty to be over 90 million,” he stated.
The ITF boss worried that the poverty population might increase from 90 million to 216 million before the end of year 2023, as observed by experts.
“In the face of this, our population has continued to soar with the World Bank estimating that Nigeria might hit 216 million by the end of this year,” he revealed.
According to Mr Ari, the Strategic Positive Direction policy of the Industrial Training Fund commences this year 2022 through 2025.
The DG also said the need to get citizens out of poverty index was long overdue; he challenged Nigerian entrepreneurs to rise to the occasion and assist government in employing citizens to boost the economy.
Mr Ari noted that “government can’t employ everyone, therefore, entrepreneurs should assist in employing citizens.”
He expressed dismay over rising cases of out-of-school children as a result of economic hardship faced by parents and guardians.
“Equally, worrisome is the spectre of out-of-school children, which according to the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) is projected to be 18.5 million,” he noted.
He added that ITF is committed to leveraging on technology for flexible service delivery and widening the scope of its operations as a means of confronting socio-economic challenges facing Nigerians.
However, Ari revealed that China and Germany have had similar poverty rate experiences, but successfully overcame the challenges through skills acquisition and entrepreneurship.
He, therefore, said ITF has established three special skills acquisition centres in Lagos, Kano and in Jos, its headquarters to tackle the menace.