The Industrial Training Fund and other labor sector players has said that Nigeria should employ a qualified workforce to make the most of its expanding population.
The Manufacturers Association of Nigeria also gave the ITF further instructions to use the €3 million grant that is now available to help Nigeria develop more skilled workers.
It was highlighted that the Senate Committee on Industries’ public hearing on a measure seeking to amend the ITF Act revealed the intention of the ITF and other significant labor sector stakeholders to have a productive population.
The ITF-sponsored bill, which Senator Sa’idu Alkali accelerated through the legislative process, aimed to increase the training agency’s operational reach by supplying management-skills training for the growth of technical and entrepreneurial ventures in both the public and private sectors of the economy.
In his presentation at the public hearing, the Director-General of the ITF, Dr Joseph Ari said, ” Amendments being sought through this bill will serve to expand the scope of our operations and enhance our activities.
“In addition, the amendments are imperative now that unemployment in Nigeria has been estimated by the National Bureau of Statistics that Unemployment and Underemployment Report of Quarter four, 2020, to be over 23 million Nigerians despite several surveys indicating the existence of vacancies in several sectors of the national economy that could not be filled because of the lack of requisite skills, which underscores the need for all hands to be on deck to ensure that as many Nigerians as possible are equipped with relevant and contemporary skills.
“The amendments are equally pertinent when you consider the recently released 2022 World Population Prospects by the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs that projected that Nigeria’s population will hit 216 million by November 2022, and 375 million by 2050.
“Therefore, if necessary measures are not put in place by empowering the youths with skills for employability and entrepreneurship, the socio-economic problems that we are currently contending with in the country will conceivably escalate.
“An amendment of the Act will enable the Fund to expand its infrastructure to be able to accommodate as many Nigerians as possible that are willing to acquire skills for the national growth and development of the country.”
The President of MAN, Mansur Ahmed, who was represented by the Abuja Liaison Officer, Adeyemi Folorunsho, endorsed the proposed legislation and argued that it should be passed in order to give the ITF more authority.
According to him, the ITF was suggested to be the flagship of such training, which are to be assisted by a €3 million grant, during a recent conference on skills and vocational training throughout the countries in Africa.
In their individual presentations, other interested parties such as the Trade Union Congress, the Nigeria Union of Teachers, the Nigeria Labour Congress, the Nigeria Investment Promotion Commission, the Nigeria Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, etc., supported the amendment bill proposal.
The Chairman of the Committee, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru, who represents Lagos East, said the revisions to the ITF Act were essential to bringing Nigeria up to date with global trends in terms of globally competitive skills training.