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.”
Nigerians Spent N2.37trn On Petrol In 13 Months – NNPC
The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) has said that, in 13 months, Nigerians spent N2.37 trillion on petrol imported into the country.
According to the data released by the corporation last Wednesday, its total revenue generated from the sales of white products for the period May 2019 to May 2020 stood at N2.39 trillion.
It disclosed that petrol contributed about 98.84 per cent of the total sales with a value of N2.37tn.
The corporation said it made N92.58bn through the sale of petrol in May 2020.
It said the revenue from petrol sale was generated through its subsidiary, the Petroleum Products Marketing Company, as the oil firm also announced a 43 per cent decrease in oil pipeline vandalism in May.
NNPC’s Group General Manager, Group Public Affairs Division, Kennie Obateru, explained that these were contained in the May 2020 version of the corporation’s Monthly Financial and Operations Report.
The report stated that the N92.58bn was made on the sale of white products (only petrol this time) by PPMC during the review period.
The oil firm said 950.67 million litres of white products were sold and distributed by the corporation’s downstream subsidiary, PPMC.
This comprised 950.67 million litres of Premium Motor Spirit, popularly called petrol, only, with no Automotive Gas Oil or Dual Purpose Kerosene.
There was also no sale of special product in the month.
NCC Revises USSD Pricing, As 20 Seconds Cost N1.63
The Nigerian Communications Commission, has revised the Unstructured Supplementary Service Data pricing to allow mobile network operators and financial institutions negotiate mutually beneficial rates.
The Executive Vice Chairman, NCC, Prof. Umar Danbatta, said the commission amended the determination earlier issued in July 2019 by removing the price floor and the cap.
According to him, each USSD session is 20 seconds and costs N1.63 per session on the MNO network.
He said the cost should form the basis of negotiations between MNOs and other related service providers using USSD channels.
The amendment was carried out after a dispute between MNOs and financial institutions on the applicable charges for USSD services and the method of billing.
The NCC, in the amended determination which took effect from August 1, said that if MNOs and financial service providers were unable to agree on rates, it would intervene and the commission’s decision would be final and binding.
The telecoms regulators said refusal to pay for services provided or to negotiate in good faith would lead to discontinuation of provision of the service, the possible withdrawal of the USSD short code and/ or imposition of regulatory sanctions.
NIESV Laments Dilapidation Of RSHA Quarters
The Nigerian Institution for Estate Surveyors and Valuers (NIESV) has described the Rivers State House of Assembly Quarters as being in bad shape and no longer befitting as a dwelling place for the legislators.
The president of the institution, Mr. Emma Okahs-Wike lamented that the Assembly Quarters could not have dilapidated to the extent of being marked for demolition if the property was maintained.
He noted that a facility of such nature should not have been left in the hands of the occupants, adding that the Rivers State government ought to have employed facility managers to take care of the quarters, noting that facility managers be engaged when the new proposed assembly quarters are completed.
According to him, if we had professionals who are managing the place, I can tell you that it would not have dilapidated to the point we are.
“I want to advise that the Speaker or the house officers should appoint facility managers that would be able to manage those properties. Now that the government is thinking about reconstructing, they should be able to bring out professionals, seek professional advice so that at the end of the day when they finish this kind of structure it would be properly cared for,” he continued.
Okahs-Wike reasoned that professional facility managers would be able to care for and maintain the facility, “let them not just leave it in the hands of the occupants, they should be able to have one stop facility manager that would look after the environment and make sure that the property is well maintained and well structured”.
While enjoining the state government to have the project reevaluated and get the public notified on the reason for demolition and rebuilding of the assembly quarters, the NIESV’s president pointed out that it would cost more to renovate the facility.
He explained: “the buildings, some of them are dilapidated. What I will advise the government to do is to carry out feasibility and viability study of that project. The feasibility is that demolishing and reconstructing, ‘which one would be better for us?’ Then you go to viability, which one would be more costly, which one would be more beneficial to the people? If the viability study says it’s good to renovate, you renovate, if they say no, you reconstruct. Now if the government has done that and they have found out that it would be more cost effective to reconstruct, it’s a better deal… and bring in current and modern building materials”.
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