By James Emejo
The Director-General/Chief Executive, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr. Joseph Ari, has disclosed that the federal government has through the fund, equipped over 218,000 Nigerians across the country with skills for employability and entrepreneurship since the commencement of the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP).
He said 18,000 beneficiaries were from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
According to him, the NISDP represents one of the numerous skills acquisition intervention programmes introduced and implemented by the Fund to facilitate the achievement of the federal government policy on job and wealth creation.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 2019 National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) in Abuja Monday, he said skills acquisition remains the most viable and sustainable solution to rising unemployment and poverty which had continued to defy the best efforts of government and non-governmental initiatives.
He said though President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration had made tremendous efforts to create jobs, “there is no doubt that unemployment has wrought a terrible damage on all facets of our national life. No reasonable analysis will divorce unemployment from the needless incidents of violence that have claimed thousands of lives across the nation”.
He said: “Consequently, our population that ordinarily should be a resource, may become an albatross if we cannot provide a greater proportion of our population with a source of livelihood.”
The ITF boss said it was difficult to separate rising criminality and harmful social vices that are being perpetrated by Nigerians because of unemployment and the attendant poverty.
He noted that the last phase of the programme commenced in the last quarter of last year, while the training lasted between three and six months, depending on the trade.
Ari added that a total of 11,000 Nigerians were equipped with skills in nine trades namely, leather works (shoe and bag making), welding and fabrication, catering and event management, tiling, production and laying of interlock tiles, furniture making, domestic electrical wiring and installation, solar energy installation, plumbing and pipefitting, and ‘autogelle’ and beauty care.
He said 300 youths were trained in welding and fabrication, domestic electrical wiring and installation, catering and event management, solar energy installation and ‘autogelle’ and beauty care in the FCT.
He however lamented that the federal government’s efforts was clearly not enough in view of the magnitude of the unemployment confronting the country.
Ari therefore appealed to state governments, the organised private sector (OPS), non-governmental organisations (NGO), faith-based organisations, politicians and other stakeholders to collaborate with the ITF in order to train more Nigerians.