ABUJA- DIRECTOR- General, Industrial Training Fund, ITF, Prof. Sambo Longmas Wapmuk disclosed yesterday that the Fund was having a backlog of about N12 million being debt owed the students in its Students Work Experience Scheme, SIWES, just as he said that what the government gives was money for the programme and the money given by government was not enough.
He advocated that SIWES was a very good one and should be retained, noting that payment of allowances to the students should be discouraged since the agency was not meeting up with the payment.
Speaking yesterday when he appeared before the Committee on Civil Society, Labour and Sports at the on- going National Conference, Wapmuk who told the delegates that for not meeting up with the payments, students write petitions against the ITF more often and sometimes invade the office of the agency without knowing that the money does not come from them, but from the government.
He however called on parents to understand as N15,000 for the period of 6 months training for the students was not too much sacrifice to make on the part of the parents.
Wapmuk disclosed that ITF trains on annual basis not less than 20, 000 people in various companies as the establishment organises programmes for staff of government and other companies in various skills, however explained that the constraint to its operations has been funding.
The Director- General who appealed to the Committee of the need to recommend to the Federal Government to provide funds for the agency, even if it means on loan basis, for the immediate establishment of Industrial Training Centres in the 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Terrirory, Abuja, adding that the ITF which was targeting the secondary school leavers and drop outs for the training which would churn out 625 people in each state stressing that if they were empowered with skills, the Fund would be able to set up something for itself after the training.
Prof Wapmuck stated that at the moment, the revenue base of the agency was increasing, promising to pay back the loan if assisted by the Federal government to set up the centres, adding that with the new decision of government for ITF to be self funding, he hoped that the establishment would make more efforts to generate more funds since government has not been giving money to the agency.