ITF tackles unemployment with industrial skills training centres as Senators lobby for locations

As a way of tackling the rising wave of unemployment among youth in Nigeria, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) is setting up skills acquisition centres for them across the states of the federation.

This is as members of the Senate Commitee on Industry, made subtle lobby for such centres to be sited in their respective senatorial zones .

Setting up of the centres by ITF, came to the fore during budget defence session the agency had with the Senate Commitee on Industry on Tuesday.

In his presentation before the committee, the Director General of ITF, Joseph Ari, said the centres are being created to tackle the problem of unemployment in the country particularly among the youths.

From the centres, thousands of youths he added, will be equipped with required innovative skills that will take them off the streets and make them self employed.

“Setting up of the Industrial Skill Training Centres, is central to the core mandate of ITF, the very reason the agency is very resolute and passionate in putting them in place across the states of the federation,” he said.

Apparently impressed with the move of ITF, some members of the committee like Senators Jibrin Isa (APC Kogi East ), Christopher Ekpeyong (PDP Akwa Ibom North West), Danjumah La’ah ( PDP Kaduna Central) and Muhammad Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC Bauchi North), asked him about locations of the centres in their states.

Senator Jibrin Isa in particular, complained to the DG that records before him show Kogi West and Central as locations of such centres and not Kogi East .

But the ITF DG in his response said locations of the centres across the states are devoid of political affiliation of people in the states or Senatorial zones.

“In establishing the centres, we consult with respective State Governors for the required buy in at that level but with observation made here today , I promise to also carry along distinguished Senators,” he said.

Earlier in his presentation on 2021 budget implementation by the agency and 2022 budgetary pooposals, the ITF boss said while a total budgetary vote of N44.5billion was earmarked for the agency in 2021, the projected estimate for 2022 is N42.5billion , which shows difference of N2.1billion.

He said the N2.291billion capital vote for the year has not been expended due to lack of cash backing for projects lined up for execution.

But the Director of Procurement in his explanation, said all the procurement processes delaying execution of capital component of the agency’s 2021 budget have been done ,which will make slated contracts to be executed before the end of the year.

In his closing remarks at the session, the Chairman of the committee , Senator Adetokunbo Abiru, said, “ITF is very germane to the economy of the Nation and needs to redouble its effort in the establishment of skills acquisition and vocational centres across the country.

“Since we have moved from the era of Industrial revolution , such centres should be driven more by innovation,” he said.