Gyang Bere, Jos
Even as Nigerians groan under increasing wave of unemployment, vacancies that existed in about 925 trades in the country’s labour market are being filled by foreigners due to lack of requisite skills by Nigerians. It was perhaps against this backdrop that the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and critical stakeholders in the country have been called to partner with Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in training and equipping Nigerians with requisite skills to fill in the skill gap in order to boost the country’s economy.
The Fund lamented that despite its efforts and that of the Federal Government, report from the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) in 2018, revealed that as number of the economically active or working age (15-64 years) grew from 110.3 million to 111.1 million, the number of unemployed equally appreciated from 11.92 million in the first quarter to 13.55 million and 15.99 million in the second and the third quarters of 2018.
The Director General of ITF, Sir Joseph Ari, said the report was based on the research conducted by ITF in conjunction with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) which was presented to stakeholders in Abuja.
The findings show that, “although vacancies existed in all sectors surveyed, they were being filled by persons other than Nigerians because of the lack of requisite skills. Specifically, the report indicated that despite spiralling unemployment, 925 trades were difficult and hard to fill in the country’s labour market.”
According to the breakdown, about 19.7 percentage vacancies existed in the housing sector, 13.9 per cent in petrochemical sector, 14.7 per cent in other goods, 11.4 per cent in the auto industry, 10.3 per cent in textiles, 10.1 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 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 lack of requisite soft skills.
Ari stated that it was in a bid to stem the spiralling unemployment and drive President Muhammadu Buhari’s job creation efforts, that the ITF came up with the list of implementable programmes, which includes National Industrial Skill Development Programme (NISDP), Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP), air conditioning and refrigeration (training on wheels), designing and garment making (training on wheels) for Nigerian youths, manure production and aqua-culture/fish farming, among others.
The Fund also ensures that all contributing employers that remitted their contributions to the ITF were reimbursed their payments in full of their annual training contributions, training of their workforce across all cadres, presentation of evidence of training, acceptance of students on Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES).
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