By Chris Alu
The Industrial Training Fund said it had begun the audit of skills acquisition centres as part of measures aimed at ensuring that the right equipment are used in the training of artisans.
Dr Juliet Chukkas-Onaeko, director-general of the Fund, disclosed this yesterday in Abuja during a tour of the ITF skills acquisition centre. She said the move would not only help to provide the required skills for the development of the country, but also ensure inclusive growth through job creation and poverty reduction. She said the audit became imperative following the directive by the Federal Government to the ITF to reduce the level of unemployment in the country through the development of manpower skills of two million Nigerians annually.
She said the audit would help the Fund to know the current state of facilities at the institute with a view to meeting the manpower needs of the country following the implementation of the Nigerian Industrial Revolution Policy.
She said, “We are fully aware of the challenges ahead, we have carried out a full audit of our facilities and we have reviewed the equipment. “Its not only going to be on this centre, we have four other centres all around Nigeria that we are reviewing in addition to our area offices.
“The unemployment rate right now is very high and we need to train more and that is why we set the target of training two million every year.
“But we can’t do that within our centres and we are reaching out to other people to use other training centres so that we can increase the number.”
She also hinted that the fund, in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization would this month begin an assessment survey of the skill gaps in the country.
The outcome of the survey, which according to her would cover all the sectors of the economy would be ready by January next year. She said, “The actual survey is about to begin and this would be
robust and then a report will be ready in the first quarter of next year probably January.
“We are embarking on full scale survey of all the key sectors in Nigeria and we are liaising with organisations to feed us in the gaps that exist so that we can establish where we need to speed up the areas of skills. We are commenting the survey with UNIDO this August.”
The DG, however, lamented that the dearth of fund is currently hampering the ITF from achieving its mandate. She said, “We are working on expanding the training scope and the
people and that requires funding. “Right now, ITF is funded by internal generated revenue which we have to continue to drive to get more and more and we are reaching out to stakeholders to see how they can participate in contributing more. “We also have huge liability right now and based on the report from the liability committee we have about N8.5bn outstanding payment to be made and that’s a lot compared to N10bn and hopefully we are going to increase this revenue and reach out and get more creative to get donor agencies to one in to our aid.”
Earlier, the Training Manager at the facility, Alh Ishaku Bello said that the sum of N270m would be needed to upgrade the Abuja skills centre alone.
He said while the centre is targeting to generate N170m in the 2014 fiscal year, it had been able to make the sum of N32m between January and August.