By Marie-Therese Nanlong

Unless most Nigerians are equipped with competitive technical skills, we will as a nation continue to fight a losing battle against the plights of poverty and unemployment and their attendant consequences.

This was the view of the Director-General, DG, Industrial Training Fund, ITF, Sir Joseph Ari who also advocated increased investment in the construction, agriculture, solid minerals, ICT, manufacturing and service sectors so that the country can quickly build its economy.

Addressing journalists in Jos on Wednesday, the DG maintained that skills acquisition, empowerment and investment in the small and medium scale enterprises are the most sustainable catalyst to economic growth.

Highlighting the ITF’s achievements in 2020 and setting the agenda for 2021, Ari disclosed 2021 is the year of skills escalation for prospering, explaining that the programmes lined up will train about 12,000 Nigerians between three and six months in diverse areas aimed at closing the skills gaps in the country.

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His words, “Our emphasis on skills acquisition has been premised on our firm belief that it remains the most sustainable solution to increasing poverty and unemployment, and the catalyst to economic growth and development.

“This year, which we have declared as the year of “Skills Escalation for Prosperity,” we have commenced processes for the implementation of more skills intervention programmes.

“The Programmes earmarked for implementation are namely: the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), the Construction Skills Empowerment Programme (CONSEP), the Skills Training and Empowerment Programme for the Physically Challenged (STEPP-C), the Passion to Profession Programme (P2PP), and the Agri-Preneurship Training Programme (ATP).

“In all, the programmes will train about 12,000 Nigerians between three and six months in the following trade areas: web design and programming, advance computer networking, mobile app development, iron bending, masonry, crop production, aquaculture, poultry, air-conditioning and refrigeration, plumbing, GSM repairs and ladies’ wig cap making.”

On the federal government’s plan to lift 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years, Ari stated the ITF was among the few Agencies requested by the Federal Government to forward submissions and if his proposal, which is currently receiving the attention of the authorities is assented to, “the ITF will train over 7million Nigerians in the Agriculture, Construction and Facility Maintenance, Information and Communication Technology, Manufacturing and Services sectors between 2021 and 2031.”

“We believe that until most Nigerians are equipped with competitive technical skills, we will, as a Nation, continue to fight a losing battle against the blights of poverty and unemployment and their attendant consequences,” he stressed.

Vanguard News Nigeria

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