James Emejo in Abuja
Vice President Yemi Osinbajo thursday expressed concern that a greater percentage of the country’s workforce is not currently engaged because of absence of requisite skills.
He said the recent skills gap survey carried out by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) revealed that though vacancies existed in all sectors of the national economy, Nigerians lacked the requisite competencies to fill the positions.
Speaking at the opening of the maiden National Skills Summit in Abuja, he said the country’s labour force of over 69 million people represented the largest in Africa and the ninth largest in the world, citing a report by the World Bank.
Represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Mr. Niyi Adebayo, the vice president said the availability of labour remained a critical component of industrial and economic potential which positions Nigeria as leading candidate for industrial-related investment.
He said the development of requisite skills and worker productivity is however critical to maximising the benefits of the country’s large working population.
While commending ITF summit, Osinbajo assured of the willingness of the federal government through the ministry of trade to collaborate with any organisation that shows the capacity to equip Nigerians with relevant skills for employability and growth.
He said if the problem of skills shortage is resolved, government’s efforts at tackling unemployment and creating jobs would have been half solved.
Osinbajo said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari has demonstrated its commitment to turn around the fortunes of the country from dependence on oil by diversifying the economy as evidenced through robust policies by the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the implementation of the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDP) and the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Plan (NIRP).