BY Victoria Ojeme

The Federal Government has called on agencies to partner with Industrial Training Fund (ITF) and Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB) in tackling  poverty and unemployment in the country.

Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment gave the advice in Abuja at the virtual Kick-off of ITF-NCDMB Vocational Training Programmes.

The ITF-NCDMB training collaboration on skills acquisition is aimed at equipping 255 Nigerian youths with requisite skills for entrepreneurship and employability.

Katagum, while declaring the event open virtually, commended ITF for the notable efforts made toward equipping Nigerians with life skills that added value to the economy.

She recalled that President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration listed tackling of poverty and job creation as one of the key priority areas of the administration.

“It is therefore, heartwarming to note that the ITF has fully keyed into this initiative and is reaching out to different partners to actualise the policy,” the minister said.

She noted that collaborative efforts among agencies and organisations became imperative to successfully tackle poverty and job creation given the enormity of the challenges posed by unemployment,

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Mr Joseph Ari, ITF Director-General, in his address decried the high unemployment rate in Nigeria among other issues which had impacted negatively on the economy, thus jeopardising national security and socio-economic development.

Ari said the absence of matching skills with industry needs had also heightened unemployment rate, especially among youths.

According to him, this is what brought about the Skills Gap Assessment survey in six priority sectors of the economy, which the ITF conducted in collaboration with the United Nations Industry Development Organisation (UNIDO) in 2017.

”The sectors are agro-allied, construction, oil and gas, metal and solid minerals, light manufacturing and services,” the ITF boss said.

He said the major objective of the study was to provide information on industrial skills demand, supply and gaps in Nigeria, since skills form the bedrock of every country’s economy.

“They are not only linked to aggregate economic performance but also to each individual’s success in the labour market.

“However, having skills is not enough. To achieve growth for a country and for an individual, skills acquisition must be put to productive use at work to diversify the economy.

“The essence of this programme is to empower the trainees to be self reliant and also contribute meaningfully to growth of the national economy,” he said.

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