By Henry Umoru
THE Federal government said yesterday that if the country must achieve its set goal of becoming one of the top world twenty largest economies, priority must be given to the development of technical and vocational skills across the country. According to the government, it was against this backdrop that it was prepared to pay serious attention to the development of technical and vocation skills as that would help boost employment generation and poverty reduction across the country
Speaking yesterday at the 18th National Training Conference and Exhibition of the Industrial Training Fund, in Abuja , Minister of State, Commerce and Industry, Ms Josephine Tapgun who noted that the development of the country’s vocational skills base would help in the growth of small and medium scale enterprises, said, “No nation in the world can make progress without an adequate and functional skilled workforce.
The theme of the event was ‘’Technical and Vocational Skills Acquisition: An imperative for Nigeria’s Economic Development.” Represented by the Ministry’s Permanent Secretary, Dr. Abubakar Mohammed, the Minister said, ‘’The Federal Government has come to this realisation that technical and vocational skills acquisition is critical to the attainment of Vision 2020.Acquisition of technical and vocational constitutes the platform on which the drive for employment generation and poverty reduction can be established.
“Therefore, it is the belief of the Federal Government that the economy of Nigeria will witness tremendous growth if we give appropriate attention on the acquisition of technical and vocational skills, particularly for the youths who constitute a significant proportion of the populace.
The Federal government will support the generation of a pool of the nation’s skilled workforce sufficient to meet the needs of the nation’s economy”.
Also speaking at the event, the Senate Committee Chairman on Industry, Senator Kamarudeen Adekunle Adedibu who stressed the need for technical skills to be given attention to by the government, however blamed the failure of the nation’s industrial sector on the paucity of technical and vocational skills.
According to Adedibu, ‘’the development of any country is dependent on the availability of the appropriate mix and quality of human resource such as engineers; technicians, and craftsmen and artisans. “One of the major hurdles that has impeded Nigeria’s drive for industrial development is the low premium placed on technical and vocational skills acquisition. The actualisation of the Vision20:2020 is predicated on the existence of a productive and sustainable human resource base”
In his remarks, the ITF Director General/Chief Executive, Professor Longmas Sambo Wapmuk, who noted that the agency was partnering with the organised private sector and donor agencies to ensure the growth of technical and vocational skills training across the country, said, ‘’It is in realisation of this fact that the ITF cannot proffer all the solutions required to address the issue of skills gap in our economy that the Fund is scaling up partnership with Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, National Employers Consultative Council , the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture and other human resource development organisations.
“However, we want to appeal to the Federal Government to continue to support the programmes and services of ITF. On our part, we will not relent in providing appropriate performance improvement intervention solutions for the sustainable growth and development of the national