The Chairman, Senate Committee on Commerce, Trade and Industry, Senator Sam Egwu, has declared that graduates of the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), certainly need more than just Start-Up Packs of the Federal Government.
Senato Egwu, who stated this at the end of the programme of the NISDP in Abuja, said the Executive arm of the Federal Government should consider the provision of financial assistance to the graduates to enable them implement what they were trained to practice.
The former governor of Ebonyi state noted that in as much as the current social intervention programmes of the federal government have gone a long way in helping out, the grandaunts need money to run the business.
He further said; “I will want a situation in which the federal government will come up with a programme whereby if the ITF has trained someone, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) for instance, should advance the funds in the region of N5milion, for each of the graduates to run the business which he was trained to run.
“The federal government should do more by either involving the CBN or the Bank of Industry (BoI) to give assistance by way of financing. If you train somebody and don’t empower him, you have only gone half way.”
He assured that the National assembly will do its part by encouraging and supporting necessary legislations to enhance the programme.
In his address, the Director General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir Joseph N. Ari said that since its inception, the NISDP has equipped over 150,000 Nigerians with skills for employability and entrepreneurship.
Ari also said that the NISDP is one of the numerous skills acquisition intervention programmes introduced and implemented by the ITF to facilitate the achievement of President Muhammadu Buhari’s policy on job and wealth creation.
He further said that the programme focuses on skills acquisition to create jobs to stem rampant unemployment and breed a new generation of entrepreneurs, in order to transform the economic landscape of the country.
According to him; “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.
“It is an incontrovertible fact that any society that neglects the development of its human capital is bound to retrogress in terms of growth and development. Until the inauguration of the Buhari administration, Nigeria was a perfect example of such society, so much so that even in the face of existing vacancies in several sectors of the National economy, youths roamed the streets without any form of gainful employment giving rise to crimes and other social vices that still bedevil our dear nation today.”
The ITF Director General commended Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo for being a key motivation and inspiration to the Fund saying that he has been instrumental in all that the ITF achieved since the inauguration of the Administration.
He further said; “For instance, as Chairman of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) Council, he was critical to the inclusion of the ITF on the Board of the Council. This decision was a boost to us in the ITF as we initiated policies that energized the MSMEs sector leading to the award of Star Partner in MSMEs development in Nigeria by the Federal Government.
“In addition, the Vice-President’s commitment and dedication to tackling unemployment and reducing poverty has spurred us to higher levels of achievement leading to several initiatives including the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), which graduation we are witnessing today. There is no gainsaying the fact that the Vice President has been a dependable ally. Indeed, theirs with Mr. President is a case of complete and true partnership of credible statesmen.”
Ari also said the NISDP is a narrative that the ITF is determined to support the Federal Government to change, adding that the Fund therefore, consider the graduation ceremony as a giant step in this regard. According to him; “This phase of the programme, which 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, aluminum, tiling, Plaster of Paris (POP) as well as photography. These trades were carefully selected based on their potential to directly impact the National economy.
“Our monitoring and evaluation template indicates that where training occurs without the accompanying empowerment tools, the results become less impactful. Bearing this in mind, the ITF decided to empower all beneficiaries of it’s skills acquisition programmes with start-up kits. The graduands of today will be similarly empowered.
“Further surveys have revealed that in all cases where the trainees were provided with the 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 the policy of the present Administration to create wealth and grow the economy.”