By Faith Igbudu
Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has revealed that the reason why Nigeria is still engulfed in unemployment is because most persons lack the requisite skills to take up available job opportunities or become entrepreneurs.
Director General, ITF, Joseph Ari, made the disclosure Thursday, at the closing ceremony of the 2021 National Industrial Skills Development Program (NISDP) in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
“From surveys conducted by us and similar organisations, despite the rising unemployment, there appear to be vacancies in the economy that are still being filled by foreigners because of the absence of Nigerians with the requisite skills to fill such openings.
“I believe that if Nigerians are equipped with requisite skills, unemployment and poverty will be reduced and the attendant damages they have on all facets of our national life as no reasonable analysis will divorce unemployment from the needless incidents of violence that have claimed thousands of lives across the Nation just as it will equally be difficult to separate rising criminality and harmful social vices that are being perpetrated by Nigerians and, therefore, we must strive to find a way to address these challenges,” Ari said.
Represented by the Area Manager, ITF, Mrs Sarah Adanyi, he noted that since the inception of the NISDP, it has equipped thousands of Nigerians nationwide with skills for employability and entrepreneurship. He further explained that “this phase of the programme, which the closing ceremony is taking place today, commenced in the third quarter of 2021. The training lasted for three three months,” he added.
According to him, at least 3905 Nigerians were equipped with skills in 2 trade areas namely, Catering and Event Management and Plumbing, with Benue having 100.
He assured that “on our part, as the leading human capacity development institution in Nigeria, we are committed to implementing skills acquisition programmes to equip Nigerians with life skills for employability and entrepreneurship so that they can take advantage of the numerous policies of the Federal Government that are designed to boost the economy and improve the standard of living of Nigerians.
He appreciated and also appealed to the state government, the Organised Private Sector (OPS), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), faith based organisations, politicians and other stakeholders to collaborate with the ITF in their efforts to train Nigerians.
He said such collaboration could be by way of sponsorship of additional trainees for various skills programmes, or by buying start-up packs for beneficiaries of the programmes. “It is my firm belief that only through such collaborations will the Fund be able to train as many youths as possible to impact the Nigerian environment and finally solve the problems of unemployment and poverty,” he added.
In his remark, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue state, represented by the Commissioner for Trade & Investment, Benjamin Agbe, commended ITF for the noble work it is doing in the nation, appealing to the organization to do more.
“I want to seize this opportunity to urge the ITF Management not to relent but continue to train more Nigerians and by so doing etch the name of the organization in gold.
“To the beneficiaries, I urge you to make good use of the opportunity
and the start-up kits given to you to start your own business so that you can become employers of labour and contribute to the growth and development of not just the state, but Nigeria in general,” he said.
While calling on organisations with similar mandate like the ITF to come up with sustainable programmes to empower Nigerian youth with requisite skills for self reliance, leading to job creation and economic development, the governor assured the DG “that the State would continue to partner with the ITF to achieve its task of creating jobs for Nigerians by equipping them with requisite skills for sustainability.”
In other good will messages, beneficiaries were charged not to sell off their starter packs but use them judiciously to enhance their entrepreneurship growth.
After the presentation of starter packs to the graduants, Iornum Winifred, on behalf of the graduants expressed deep appreciation to God, the DG and trainers for the opportunity given them.
She appealed to the government to introduce financial stability programmes for the youths to benefit from and assured that the training and starter packs given them will experience “a multiplier effect.”