By Therese Nanlong
The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Richard Adebayo has maintained the perceived unemployment in the country is as the results of existing skills gaps which hinder citizens from being gainfully employed.
He noted the lack of skills narrative is being corrected as the Industrial Training Fund, ITF is working hard to equip citizens with skills for gainful employment.
The Minister, spoke at the ITF, 2019 Merit Award in Jos, Plateau State were the different Area Offices of the Fund were rewarded for their various achievements.
Represented by the Director-General of Nigeria Employers’ Consultative Association, NECA, Timothy Olawale, he commended ITF saying, “ITF if today has positioned itself as a high flying distinguished parastatal of government worthy of emulation by others” and asked the staff to keep the flag flying.
His counterpart, Mariam Katagum added, “Nigeria has job opportunities but no skills manpower, ITF is working hard to correct that, keep the good working relationship.”
Also, the State Governor, Simon Lalong, through his Commissioner for Special Duties, Jerry Werr added that “the ITF has contributed effectively to the State development through training of our citizens and we are willing to continue to support ITF activities as it concerns human capital development.”
Earlier, the DG, ITF Joseph Ari highlighted the efforts of the Fund at adding value to the nation’s economy stressing, “It is common knowledge that as a nation, we are contending with the problems of poverty and unemployment, the strange paradox is that despite these, vacancies still exist in various sectors of the national economy.
“A skills gap survey showed that vacancies existed in four sectors namely, Services, Agriculture, Construction and Transportation that were in some cases being filled by non-Nigerians because of the absence of Nigerians with the requisite technical skills.
“To prepare Nigerians to effectively take over these sectors, beginning from 2016, the Fund initiated a number of skills acquisition programmes particularly targeted at these sectors.”
The DG, advised the Award recipients to work harder and see the Award as a challenge to do more while he urged those who didn’t win to be challenged to work harder.
Among the Area Offices which got the Awards in different categories were Isolo, Abeokuta, Akure, Abuja, Warri, Lafia and Gwagwalada.