James Emejo in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo Thursday urged the youths to acquire hands-on skills to stand a better chance of employment as “paper qualification although important, is gradually being overtaken by hand-on-skills because of their marketability”.
He said: “Therefore, I will strongly encourage all Nigerian youth to acquire hand-on-skills. When combined with paper qualification, the sky is your limit.”
He gave the charge at the official closing ceremony of the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) where 11,000 trainees were graduated in Abuja.
He said the event was an outcome of the policy thrust of President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, which is anchored on revamping the economy, fighting corruption, reduction of poverty and the creation of jobs for the teeming unemployed Nigerians.
He added that the focus areas were arrived at given the state of the economy the administration inherited at inauguration in 2015.
Represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha, Osinbajo said close to four years of the current administration, “We have achieved most of these targets through the implementation of social investment programmes like N-Power, Trader Money and the full implementation of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP), which have had varied impact on all sectors of the National Economy.”
He said: “What has, however, remained the greatest challenge of the administration is harnessing the potentials of our very youthful population for them to contribute meaningfully to the growth of the National economy as entrepreneurs or as employees.
“Recall that United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) has projected that by year 2050, Nigeria’s population will hit 500 million. When tied with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) estimates that over 26 million Nigerians are unemployed despite the numerous initiatives of the federal government, it became obvious that more needed to be done.”
He said: “To this end, we encouraged hitherto comatose parastatals with mandates for skills acquisition to train Nigerians as a pathway to job creation and poverty reduction by equipping them with entrepreneurial and employability skills.
“One agency that has been at the forefront of this charge is the Industrial Training Fund (ITF). Apart from the graduation of the over 11,000 trainees today, I am aware that the Agency in the last two years alone trained over 450,000 Nigerians particularly the youth that were all empowered with start-up packs to start their own businesses.
“I am equally aware that of the 450,000 trained, 90 per cent of the beneficiaries have gone on to become entrepreneurs that are even employing others.”