OVER the years, lack of basic skills among Nigerian youths and indeed most job seekers has been a great challenge to addressing the unemployment problems in the country. In most cases, the preference for the elusive white collar jobs by job seekers has tended to exacerbate, rather than ameliorate the problem.
It is, therefore, gratifying that the President Goodluck Jonathan administration has opted to partner with the INNOSON GROUP, Nigeria’s first local manufacturer of vehicles in the area of skills acquisition for our youths. With the plan for some youths to undergo on–the-job training at the INNOSON VEHICLES MANUFACTURING PLANT, and other factories, there is no doubt that the youths will acquire necessary skills that will enable them to be gainfully employed in the future.
Similarly, the promise by the INNOSON management to offer employment to those the Federal Government may not hire after the training period is also reassuring as it will go a long way to reduce the number of job seekers in the country.
While this innovative approach by the Federal Government is commendable, the patriotic effort of the INNOSON GROUP in assisting the Federal Government to reduce unemployment in the country ought to be emulated by other companies with such capacity. By this, they would have answered the clarion call by the Jonathan administration on the private sector to collaborate with it to rescue the country from the unenviable position of high youth and graduate unemployment.
If this novel method is replicated across the country and by most of the blue chip companies declaring jumbo profits yearly, there is no doubt that the scourge of unemployment will be significantly tackled. This assumption is hinged on the fact that government alone cannot provide jobs for our people, but with the concerted efforts by all stakeholders.
In this era of privatisation and public private partnerships, it is only natural that both the private sector and governments pull resources together, to address the menace of unemployment, and one of the best ways towards achieving this is to ensure that job seekers possess the required skills that will enable them key into the evolving industrialised economy.
There is no doubt that with government divestment in public enterprises, the new owners will need workers with requisite skills to ensure the survival of their companies and adequate return on investments. Therefore, it is indeed remarkable that the INNOSON Group has stepped forward to lead in equipping our youths with relevant skills towards driving the nation’s economy.
As a corporate entity, INNOSON Group has set a track record of not only discharging its social responsibility, but has remained in the vanguard of assisting the Federal and state governments in providing job opportunities for Nigerians.
The current vogue of producing thousands of graduates from our higher institutions with paper certificates and little skills knowledge cannot lift Nigeria from its dependent status in industrial development. From USA, to Europe, China and Africa, it is important to note that it is only the skilled group of workers that drive the economy. No wonder, most industrialised economies pay little attention to paper certificates but to practical application of skills.
The direct result of this approach is manifested in the output from the industrial sector. Therefore, it is a mark of patriotism that INNOSON Group is offering a window of opportunity to Nigerian youths to acquire relevant skills in their factories.
The plan by the company to build mechanic schools across the country for the purpose of imparting requisite modern technological knowledge to Nigerian mechanics is equally laudable. This innovative approach will greatly enhance the capacity of our artisans to learn modern technological trends, and ultimately bring such knowledge to bear in their service delivery to the general public.
It is common knowledge that many Nigerian motorists usually lament their unpleasant experiences in the hands of inexperienced mechanics. Therefore, the plan by the INNOSON Group to improve their skills will, no doubt, reduce the frustration of Nigerian motorists who suffer incalculable damages to their vehicles as a result of the activities of half-baked mechanics.
In developed countries of United States, Europe and Asia, motor servicing, repair and maintenance is a serious business, which requires certification by relevant authorities. We will therefore save time and resources when we have our mechanics equipped with necessary skills as being envisaged by the INNOSON Group.
At the rate our army of unemployed youths is growing, only this kind of synergy between the Federal Government and the private sector can help nip it in the bud.
It is, however, expected that government will create the enabling environment for the private sector to thrive. Such policies as patronising locally-made vehicles by states and Federal Government will no doubt help to improve the earning capacity of our indigenous companies, and the resultant effect is increased capacity and expansion, which direct corollary is the ability of the beneficiary companies to employ more Nigerians.
As at today, apart from the civil service, other key sectors of the economy that have supported the Federal Government’s drive for job creation are the auto manufacturing sector, cement industry, hospitality, telecommunications, housing sector, power sector among others.
If government should therefore lend the needed support to these sectors of the economy, as well as steel, textile, coal industry and agriculture, Nigeria will no doubt be on the right track to realising the much touted vision 20:20-20 as one of the most developed economies in the world.
Developed economies like USA, Europe and Asia did not happen by accident, rather through a deliberate action plan by them to tap into the available human and material resources of their various societies. For example, the US government at critical moments intervenes with various incentives including monetary grants to help revitalise their industries like Ford and GM motors in order to keep them strong, thereby saving millions of jobs for Americans.
Nigerian government ought to periodically adopt the same approach in dealing with conglomerates like INNOSON and DANGOTE who are presently in the lead as companies with passion to assist the Federal Government reduce unemployment and increase productivity.
CHUKWUDI ENEKWECHI a journalist, wrote from Abuja.