ITF Equips Over 500,000 Nigerians With Cutting Edge Skills-DG

By Nana Musa

The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) said its numerous skills acquisition programmes developed over the years had significantly contributed to the reduction of unemployment, poverty and youth restiveness in the country.

Its Director-General/Chief Executive, Dr Afiz Ogun, said this at the graduation ceremony of 165 participants of the fun in collaboration with the Nigerian Breweries (NB) Plc skills empowerment programme in Abuja on Thursday.

Ogun, who was represented by the Director of Technical, Vocational Skills Training and Development Department, Mr James Abimbola, said that the programmes were also facilitating the diversification of the Nigeria economy.

He said that the 165 youths and women who participated in the ITF and NB Plc National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) were equipped with different skills.

He said these included solar power installation, POP, painting, hair dressing/beauty care, ladies wig cap making, mobile phone repairs, leather work in shoes, bag making and electrical installation.

The Director General said: “ITF has the mandate on human capital development in the country, it has over the years developed numerous skills intervention programme aimed at tackling unemployment and poverty.

“The promotion of entrepreneurship and the reduction of youth restiveness while also facilitating the diversification of the Nigerian economy in line with the federal government policy.

“The NISDP which graduation is taking place today is a transformative brainchild of the ITF that is implemented to fast track the achievement of the federal government policy on job and wealth creation,” he said.

Ogun said that the focus of the skills acquisition was to create jobs to curb the unemployment situation in Nigeria and breed a new generation of entrepreneurs to transform the economic landscape of the country.

He said that the NISDP has equipped over 500,000 Nigerians nationwide with cutting edge skills in various trades.

The Managing Director/Chief Executive Office of NB Plc, Mr Hans Essaadi, said that the programme was to equip young men and women with the skills needed to thrive as entrepreneurs.

Essaadi, who was represented by the Director of Corporate Affairs, Sade Morgan, said that the NB Plc empowerment programme started on 2019.

He said that the programme started when the company was inspired by an ancient principl, “ you cannot succeed as a business without investing in the communities where you operate.”

Essaadi said that the belief has guided the company for over 77 years and has birthed several corporate social responsibility initiatives across Nigeria.

Essaadi commended ITF collaboration and support, while encouraging the participants to continue with their work.

The Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr Doris Uzoka-Anite said that the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) sector contributed positively to the growth and development of any economy.

Represented by the Director of Industrial Development, Mr Opaluwa John, the Minister expressed Federal Government’s commitment and sustained interest in repositioning the sub-sector for efficiency, growth and development.

She said that government was doing that through the implementation of programmes and schemes by the relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as enshrined in their mandate.

“The Federal Government initiated the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP) as a strategic way of delivering enterprise development in the country by directly addressing the critical factors that have inhibited the growth of the MSMEs sector.

“The NEDEP seeks to create jobs, increase contribution to GDP, increase MSME exports, reduce the formal – informal sector gap as well as increase youth and women participation in enterprise development.

“The above deliverables is actively being realised through the sustained efforts of relevant MDA’s and the private sector by focusing on priority agenda of the programme to include strengthening of Institutional framework.

“Development of a revised national Policy on MSME, implementation of a robust delivery and monitoring structure, increase in access to affordable finance.

“Increase in access to markets, development of business development skills, development of technical skills, promotion of youth Inclusion and reduction of high operating costs,” the Minister said.

Uzoka-Anite extolled the programme were in line with the efforts of President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda to maximize the contribution of the MSMEs to the national economy.

She also urged the private sector to key into government’s efforts and invest in the MSMEs sector in furtherance to the attainment of the desired economic growth and development.

One of the graduands, Mr Onah Amandi, expressed his delight to be one of the beneficiaries of the programme, saying, “I leant a lot on solar power installation.

“Before now, I was an electrician but now I am adding solar installations to it, “ Amandi said.

He commended the organisers for the opportunity and advised other interested people to enroll into the ITF skills acquisition programme.

Another participant, Aisha Tanko, said that the programme taught her a lot, adding that she planned to train others.

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