The Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, Joseph Ari says the Fund has trained 25 million Nigerians on various skills since its establishment 49 years ago.
Ari disclosed this on Wednesday in Jos when members of the House of Representatives Committee on Industry led by its Chairman, Dr Enitan Badru, paid an oversight visit to the fund’s headquarters.
He said the beneficiaries of the training are manning key sectors of the national economy.
He said the key mandate of the ITF as enshrined in the Act that established it, was provision of skilled manpower sufficient to meet the needs of public and private sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“Despite the enormity of the Mandate, the ITF has discharged it with great successes by training over 25 million Nigerians in various skills,” he said.
The director-general said that since the inception of the incumbent management of the fund, its commitment to equipping Nigerians with technical skills for employability and entrepreneurship had never wavered.
He said their emphasis on skills acquisition had been premised on the fund’s firm belief that it remained the most sustainable solution to increasing poverty and unemployment and the catalyst to economic growth and development.
He said in 2020, in spite of challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the fund implemented the following skills intervention programmes: the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) Special Skills Development Programme (SSDP) and Federal Government Skills Empowerment Programme (FEGOSEP).
Others are: Info-Tech Skills Empowerment Programme (ISEP) and Agri-Preneurship Training Programme (ATP) in addition to programmes which had trained thousands of Nigerians that were empowered with start-up packs for them to set up their own businesses.
According to Ari, the ITF upgraded facilities at its Industrial Skills Training Centres (ISTCs) and the Model Skills Training Centre (MSTC) Abuja, leading to the equipping of thousands of Nigerians with technical skills for employability and entrepreneurship.
He also said one outcome of the upgrade was production of the first indigenous Android GSM Smartphone with 100 per cent locally sourced materials by the ITF Model Skills Training Centre (MSTC) Abuja.
He said that as a means of training Nigerians along the Agricultural Value Chain, the fund had also completed the construction of six greenhouses in the Six Geopolitical zones of the country, which were already being used for implementation of the fund’s Agri-preneurship Skills Empowerment Programme (AGSEP).
The director-general said the ITF was in the process of amending its Act and appealed to members of the committee to support and hasten the process in order to develop the national economy.
In his response, Badru commended the director-general for being proactive in the discharge of his duties.
He said the amendment of the Act establishing the fund would enhance the organisation’s capacity.