The Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture (NACCIMA) has lauded the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) on its effort in bridging skills gap in the country.
Hajiya Saratu Aliyu, National President of MACCIMA, gave the commendation on Thursday in Abuja at the ITF, Model Skills Training Centre (MSTC), Abuja 2020 graduation.
The MSTC, an arm of the ITF, awarded the National Innovative Diploma (NID) and National Vocational Certificate (NVC) to its 316 graduates after completion of skills training.
The MSTC, which runs two-year skills training course was established in 2009 as a post-secondary technical institution to produce needed technicians for economic growth and to create opportunities for employable skills.
In a keynote address, Aliyu underscored the impact of the MSTC on national development, adding that the initiative had provided a model for resolving the root causes of high unemployment rates in the country.
According to her, human capital development, which refers to the process of acquiring and increasing the number of persons, who have the skills, education and experience, is critical for national economic growth.
Therefore, she said the implementation of the centre and other programmes of ITF could provide a means by which national development may be accomplished.
Speaking on the unemployment data from 2010 to 2018 as provided by the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS), she said that it showed persistent rise in the number of unemployed in the country.
According to her, the number is ranging from 3.5 million in 2010 to 21 million as at the last quarter of 2018.
Based on the data provided, she said that one could infer that there were 23 million people unemployed in Nigeria presently.
She said that in contradiction, businesses across Nigeria suffered from a talent shortage; a difficulty in filling job openings with skilled workers, which called for need to employ expatriates to sustain production across various sectors.
“The dangers that unemployment brings to any country are well documented, the issues of insecurity and rising crime that face Nigeria are currently the focus of national discourse and is common knowledge.
“The Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP: 2017-2020) is designed with a focus on reducing unemployment through the adoption of a jobs and skill programmes in sectors such as ICT, agriculture, industry and construction.
“The private sector, see evidence of this new approach in the activities of the government agencies such as the ITF, which has undertaken demand-gap analyses and training programmes in collaboration with private sector stakeholders.
“The creation of MSTC is yet another step in the right direction. The centre, set up as post-Secondary Technical Institutions, provide industry-relevant career and technical education programmes for secondary school leavers and adult learners,’’ she said.
Aliyu noted that the approval of MSTC by the National Board for Technical Education (NBTE), while ensuring conformity with international certification standards like the National Industrial Technical Education Certificate (NITEC) of Singapore, ensured the domestic and international relevance of programmes conducted at the Centres.
According to her, the addition of NID component, which is included in programmes accessible through the Joint Admissions Matriculation Board (JAMB), ensures widespread adoption and acceptance by the growing youth population.(NAN)