In a bid to reduce unemployment and encourage entrepreneurship in Nigeria, the Federal government has trained over 11,000 youths across the country in seven (7) areas of trade.
Presenting start – up kits to the participants on Thursday in Abuja, the Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo, represented by the Secretary to the Federal government, Boss Mustapha, said entrepreneurship had become necessary as government alone could not give jobs to all Nigerians.
“We encourage parastatals with the mandate to train and give empowerment to step up in doing so in order to unveil the potentials of Nigerian youths by empowering them with skills to become self-reliant,” he said .
“So, even as I commend ITF for the achievement, the need for collaboration among agencies that give empowerment cannot be overemphasis as it would make the most in training and empowering youths in the country,” he noted.
Osinbajo explained that, “though paper qualification is good, skills acquisition is taking over,” he stated.
He therefore called on youths in the country to acquire skills because “when combined with paper qualifications, the sky is the limit,” he said.
In his address, the Director-General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari said the graduation ceremony was a continuation of the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) which, since its inception, had equipped over 150, 000 Nigerians with skills for employability and entrepreneurship.
“Our commitment to skills acquisition is based on the fact that it is the most sustainable solution to combatting unemployment, reducing poverty and youth restiveness in the country,” Ari said.
He explained “this phase of the programme was completed shortly before the 2019 elections, trained over 11,000 Nigerians in various trade areas namely: welding and fabrication, plumbing and pipe -fitting, tailoring, aluminium, tiling, plaster of Paris and photography “.
Ari noted that, “survey has revealed that in all cases where the trainees were provided with kits, over 90 percent earned reasonable livelihood as entrepreneurs. It is our conviction that training the youths and women without equipping them defeats the core objective of the programme and policy of the present administration to create wealth and grow the economy.”
Also at the graduation, the Chairman, Senate Committee on Industry, Sam Egwu, advise the government not to just give participants start -up kits but to support them financially to enable them start their own businesses.
Egwu explained that “if you go back to the previous graduands, you will not find them doing what they were trained to do due to lack of finance to truly start the businesses they were trained to do.”
He lamented that “if you train somebody and you have not empowered that person, you have done the job half way.”
HARRISON EDEH, ABUJA