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Unemployment: ITF Wants Change Of Skills Acquisition Perception

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The horrendous unemployment crisis in Nigeria could only be solved with the change of the current perception of skills acquisition as a preserve for the never-do- wells, the poor and the wretched in the society.
If Nigerians successfully change their perception of about technical skills, the problem of unemployment and other development issues would have been half-tackled.
The Director-General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Mr. Joseph Ari gave this advise at a briefing in Abuja on the activities of ITF.
Despite government’s best efforts, unemployment was still on the rise.
Painting the gloomy picture of job situation in Nigeria, he said, that projections suggested that the country’s population was expected to hit the 500 million mark by 2050, making it the third most populous country on earth.
“Much as accelerated population growth could be an advantage, it becomes a huge disadvantage and a severe dead weight where this population is neither employed nor equipped with the requisite skills for sustenance.
“And if the current unemployment rate is responsible for the high incidences of violence, criminality and other social vices that are rampant today, it would be safe to conclude that such incidences will conceivably escalate exponentially, if deliberate actions to equip Nigerians with competitive skills for job creation and growth are not taken.”
He explained that some disturbing facts have emerged in a survey, the report of which was presented to stakeholders in Abuja in April this year.
The report, he said, indicated that despite spiraling unemployment, 925 trades were either difficult or hard to fill in the country’s labour market.
“The breakdown showed that 19.7 per cent vacancies were in the housing sector, 13.9 per cent in petro-chemical sector, 14.7 per cent in other goods, 11.4 per cent in the auto industry.
“Others are 10.3 per cent in textiles, 10.1 per cent in steel, 8.9 per cent in the services sector and 3.3 per cent in the leather industry.
“The report also noted that 15.7 per cent of all hard to fill vacancies were due to lack of technical skills, 11.8 per cent due to lack of basic IT skills, 9.2 per cent due to lack of advanced IT skills and between 9.2 per cent and 7.5 per cent of the vacancies were due to the lack of requisite soft skills.”
He said that the report which further corroborated in-house skills gaps surveys of ITF, showed that despite rising unemployment, numerous vacancies still existed in several sectors of the national economy.
These vacancies could not be filled by Nigerians because of the absence of the requisite skills or were being filled by foreigners.
In order to address the problem and stem the spiraling unemployment, President Muhammadu Buhari’s job creation efforts, management came up with a list of implementable programmes for year 2018.
The programmes are aimed at skill acquisition in all the sectors already identified as well as in the building and electrical industry, and agriculture, all on various platforms to train 13,000 Nigerians in five months.
These platforms are the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP), Air-conditioning and Refrigeration (Training on Wheels), and Designing and Garment Making (Training on Wheels) for Nigerian youths.
Others are Skills Training and Empowerment Programme for the Physically Challenged (STEPP-C), Post-Harvest Techniques and Project Development, Aqua-culture/Fish Farming, Manure Production, Crop Production/Greenhouse Technology Poultry farming, Training Programme Development on International Marketing.
In the face of this bleak outlook and in line with our mandate, the fund has also accordingly unveiled one of its most ambitious plans, tagged the “ITF Reviewed Vision: Strategies for Mandate Actualisation”.
“It is a six-year plan divided into Quick wins, medium and long-term goals. The implementation of the plan, which commenced in late 2016 will terminate in 2022.
“The key objectives of the plan was to accelerate the impartation of technical vocational skills to Nigerians, aggressively address service challenges, tackle infrastructural deficits, expand revenue generation and a gamut of other strictures impinging the actualization of the fund’s mandate.
“About two years into its implementation, I am pleased to say that, it has almost exceeded expectation by training over 150,000 Nigerians, who are today earning sustainable livelihoods as paid employees, or as entrepreneurs that are employing others. ”
ITF has expanded the existing skills acquisition programmes and introduced new initiatives.
These programmes include the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), the Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP), Passion to Profession Programme (P2PP), the Skills Training Empowerment Programme for the Physically Challenged (STEPP-C) and the Construction Skills Empowerment Programme (CONSEP) among several others.
In addition, unlike in the past where the ITF depended on state governments to assist trainees with start-up kits, all the beneficiaries of the programme were provided with start-up kits by the fund.
“The essence was to ensure that they started their businesses upon graduation. The decision to provide start-up packs was based on results of our tracer studies of earlier phases, which revealed that in all cases where the trainees were provided with the kits, over 90 percent earned reasonable livelihood as entrepreneurs.”

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FRSC Promotes 57 Officers In Rivers

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A total of 57 Federal Road Safety Corps (FRSC) officers  and marshals serving in Rivers State have been decorated  with new ranks.
Acting Zonal Commanding Officer in charge of Zone Six comprising Rivers and Cross River States, Mr Kingsley N Agomoh, disclosed this during the decoration of the newly promoted officers at a brief ceremony  held  at the FRSC zonal conference hall in Port Harcourt, yesterday.
Agomoh called on the newly promoted officers and marshals to improve on their productivity, saying promotion comes from God.
According to him, the 2019 promotion was conducted  in  a transparent manner.
“I believe your hard work earns you your promotion today. The product of hard work is more work,” Agomoh said.
He urged the officers and marshals to show more commitment on their duties.
“I thank the corps marshals and FRSC board management for their commitment,” he said.
Also speaking, the Sector Commander, Rivers State, David U Mendie, while congratulating the newly decorated officers and marshals, urged them to see their new positions as a call to greater service  th at  should lead them to higher responsibilities.
“ Let this propel you to put more action  on your job and for those  who  were not promoted, work hard and  you will make it next time because  God’s time is the best,” he stated.

 

Kiadum Edookor

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FG To Set Up Agro-Allied Industry In 36 States

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President Muhammadu Buhari has directed the Ministry of Industry, Trade and Investment to establish agro-allied industry in each state of the federation.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mariam Katagum confirmed the development during a meeting with a delegation from the Amana Farmers and Grains Suppliers Association of Nigeria.
The association was led to the minister’s office by its Chairman, Haruna Pambeguwa.
Katagum said the plan to establish agro-allied industry in each senatorial district in the country is part of government’s effort to achieve food security and stimulate economic activities.
The minister said the Federal Government would give necessary support towards the development of the cotton, textile, and garment sectors of the economy.
The textile industries in the last few years have been facing various challenges which had resulted in the closure of over 150 textile firms in Nigeria with a loss of over two million jobs.
Farmers and processors in the sector have had to deal with low quality seeds, rising operating cost and weak sales due to high energy cost of running factories, smuggling of textile goods, and poor access to finance.
According to the Central Bank of Nigeria Governor, Mr Godwin Emefiele, smuggling of textile goods alone is estimated to have cost the nation an import bill of over $4 billion.
The trade minister said, “Government is very much interested in growing the economy, looking at other areas like cotton, textile, garment, grains, tomatoes, we need to add value.
“Mr. President has directed that in every senatorial district, we should establish an Agro-allied industry and we know some industries exist but you can assist us in identifying the agro-allied industries that will be suited for you.”
On the border closure, she said the government has learnt a lot of lessons from the exercise one of which is that Nigeria can produce what it needs.
While describing the border closure as a blessing for the country, she said, “It shows that we can produce what we need to eat and even export.”
She added, “My appeal is that there are critical lessons we have learnt. Let us not go back, let us continue with farming even if we found oil in any part of the country.”

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Minimum Wage: We’ll Not Condone Retrenchment – NLC

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Chairman of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Ondo State chapter, Comrade Sunday Adeleye-Oluwole, has declared that the union would not agree to retrenchment of workers in the ongoing negotiations with the state government on the new minimum wage.
Speaking in Akure yesterday, Comrade Adeleye-Oluwole revealed that the negotiation on the N30, 000 new minimum wage, which was suspended during the Yuletide, has resumed.
He disclosed that the negotiation is 85 percent concluded, explaining that the negotiation dragged on for long because the organised labour led by JNC, NLC and TUC wanted to ensure a better package for the workers and pensioners.
He said the process may be concluded before the end of this week.
According to him, the organised labour is giving the new salary tables on minimum wage presented by the state government critical study with a view to ensuring the agreed new salaries would not lead to irregular payment, mass retrenchment as well as ensuring it is sustainable.
He stated that the new minimum wage would capture special allowances for the media, judiciary, parliamentary and health workers.
Adeleye-Oluwole appealed to the state workforce to remain patient as the negotiation has got to final stage.
He said: “The negotiation is not led by Nigeria Labour Congress but by the Joint Negotiating Council as prescribed by the National Headquarters of NLC and TUC. We are just supporting the JNC and that was what we had been doing and I want to say that in the last two months, the JNC in its wisdom set up negotiation committee, and ever since then, we have met more than seven times.
“So, JNC has a final say concerning this minimum wage. But as at now, based on what happened today (Tuesday), we have got to 85 percent completion. Also, pensioners are being carried along because we believe that all of us will become pensioners.
“From what I have been doing, I can say that before this week runs out, we should be able to come out with specific table and we are working on five different tables for Judiciary, Parliament, Media workers, call services, Health sector and the services have their own peculiar allowances. So, we are working now on five structures, including pensioners making it six.
“In the spirit of negotiation, what we really need is to know the data, how much is coming from Ondo State, which we have got and we also look at the present salary wage bill.
“As labour leaders, we are not elected to sign what will cause our workers to be retrenched. Last month, office of the Accountant General was so frustrated that he called us and showed to us (all labour leaders) how they got money to pay November (2019) salary and even at the minimum wage (negotiation) table, it was stated to everyone of us.
“My advice to JNC as NLC leader is, don’t sign what can lead to retrenchment of our members because I don’t have the final position, it’s JNC that has the final position on the new minimum wage.”
Speaking on the payment of arrears to workers by the state government, Comrade Adeleye-Oluwole explained that, “but not until we are settled in the (negotiation) table then we can’t discuss the arrears (of the minimum wage), we have not got to that level.
“In any minimum wage, it would be stated clearly that this minimum wage will not lead to retrenchment. All those who are involved in the negotiation would not be victimised or intimidated and the government will continue prompt payment of the salary and sustaining it.”

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