Okon Bassey in Uyo
The Director-General/Chief Executive of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr. Joseph Ari, has said the agriculture, construction, tourism and services sectors of the economy have the potential to generate about 20 million direct and indirect jobs if well developed.
Ari, said this while presenting a paper titled: “The Place of Skills in National Development: ITF Perspective,” at the 11th National Council on Industry held in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State capital recently.
He said many research studies including a skill gap assessment survey in agro-allied, oil and gas, construction, mental and solid mineral, light manufacturing, and services showed that skills were lacking in various sectors of the economy.
The Director-General of ITF noted that since 1962, till date, the federal government has rolled out many national plans including the recent Vision 20-2020 all towards achieving national economy development.
He listed some of the efforts of the government toward achieving national development to include the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP), diversification of the economy, zero oil policy, anti-corruption, executive orders, social intervention programmes among others.
However, Ari identified poor leadership, bad followership, poor strategy for development, poor execution of policies and programmes, corruption, underdeveloped, irresponsible and parasitic private sector; and weak civil sector as some of the challenges of national development.
According to him, the development plan was to facilitate sustainable and stable development, job creation, diversification of industrial base, economic growth, strong revenue base, infrastructure development, and peace and security.
Nigeria, he said needed skills to drive its national development plan in order to generate employment, provides diverse job opportunities, reduce crime, stimulate economic growth, improve income distribution, grow Foreign Direct Investment and reduce dependence on expatriates.
The ITF boss said the six-year strategic plan of the Fund was segmented into medium and long-term goals to accelerate the impartation of technical vocational skills to Nigerians, aggressively address service delivery challenges, tackle infrastructural deficits, and expand revenue generation.
So far, he said the Fund was intervening in the National Industrial Development Programme, women Skills Empowerment Programme, Skills Training and Empowerment Programme for the Physically Challenged, Construction Skills Empowerment Programme, and Information Technology Skills Empowerment Programme among other programmes.