The pledge by the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to take 100 million Nigerians out of poverty, will soon be actualised through numerous skills acquisition programmes, the Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, Sir Joseph Ari, has said.
The Minister of State, Trade Industry and investment, Ambassador Marian Katagum, has also disclosed that the policy direction of the Federal Government which is to address the problem of unemployment and poverty, that has brought about kidnapping and other forms of vices in the country, cannot be achieved without through skill acquisition.
The duo spoke at the flag-off of the training of 30 youths by the ITF, in the art of garment making and drafting, under one of its skills acquisition programme, the Passion To Profession Programme, P2PP, which held at the Aminu Saleh College of Education, in Azare Bauchi State.
According to Ari, the P2PP is one of the Fund’s special intervention programmes unveiled by the incumbent management of the ITF on assumption, to accelerate and fast track the impartation of technical skills to Nigerians, in order to create jobs and reduce unemployment, in line with the Federal Government’s policy direction.
He said: “We have made it very clear that the year 2020 is a year of great promise for our country Nigeria. You know, the Urban Minister did not say that when they came on stream, they gave us a marching order to escalate skill development in the country. Not many people know that the Buhari’s administration is doing a lot to equip Nigerians with as much as requisite skills. We have discovered that skills development is the direction to go.”
“That is why, if we look at the policy direction of the government as embedded in the Nigeria Industrial Revolution Plan, NIRP, skill is the bedrock of that plan. It is one of the critical development of that revolution plan, and government has directed us clearly, that we must try to standardise, operationalise, and escalate skills development among Nigerians.
“If we are able to get to the target government wants, you will realise that we will take all the vices that face us today off the street. There will be little or no restiveness, no kidnapping, robbery, prostitution, because it is often said that an idle mind is the devil’s workshop. When you have people in hands on skill, their target will be to develop the economy.
“Definitely, the government has consolidated on the NIRP, because of her focus to get as many Nigerians with hands on skill as possible.
“But unlike other Initiatives that bring trainees to a formal training environment, the Passion to Profession Programme, P2PP, is unique, as it uses the Brazilian model, where training is taken to the doorstep of the trainees, using the Mobile Training Van. This has enabled us to take our training to the very vulnerable, across the nooks and crannies of our country.”
He however, mentioned that the greatest challenges been faced by the Training Fund, is the perception of a Nigerian person, who considers hands on skill as dirty, dangerous, and something to be dreaded.
Ambassador Marian Katagum, while corroborating Ari’s statement, commended the ITF for initiating numerous skills acquisition programmes, which are designed to impact relevant skills in Nigerians, particularly the youths and order vulnerable groups, in order to tackle the twin problems of poverty and unemployment in Nigeria.
She said: “I am aware that ITF has trained over 450,000 Nigerians that are today, earning sustainable livelihoods either as paid employees or as entrepreneurs.
“We have been talking with the ITF, we have been trying to see a way we can support Mr. President’s agenda of taking people out of poverty, by providing them with skills. You can see each trainee here are having a machine to themselves.
“They are looking bright and hopeful. I am a champion of female empowerment, so that they will be able to support their families, have an income which at the end of the day enables them to expand from individual tailors to commercial tailors.”