The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has revealed that rather than the absence of jobs, vacancies still exist in several sectors of the national economy that either could not be filled by Nigerians because of the lack of requisite skills or were being filled by foreigners.
The Director General/ Chief Executive of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Sir Joseph Ari, who noted this on Thursday in Abuja at the 2nd National Skills Summit further said the survey was conducted through the Skills Gap Assessment of Six Priority Sectors of the National Economy conducted by the ITF in collaboration with the United Nations Development Organisation (UNIDO) .
He said according to the National Bureau of Statistics on Labour Force Statistics, Unemployment and Underemployment Report of Q4 2020, the number of unemployed persons in the economically active or working age (i.e 15 to 65) was 122,049,400.
He explained that of this number, 69, 675,468 were willing to work, but only 46,488,079 were in paid employment.
“What could be inferred from the survey was that over 23 million Nigerians that were perhaps qualified and willing to work were without jobs.
“It also showed that the unemployment rate among the youth (i.e. people between 15 to 35 years) was up by 8 per cent from 34.9 per cent to 42.5 per cent, which was the highest among other age groupings within the period under review,” he said.
He said efforts are being invested to solve the problem of non-existent sector skills councils adding that in this regard, the ITF with other partners has conducted series of sensitisation workshops.
He said this will reduce skills gaps and shortages as well as improve productivity in the various sectors of the Nigerian economy.
“We will focus our deliberations on Institutionalizing Apprenticeship and Traineeship for National Development.
“The choice of this theme was deliberate because of soaring unemployment and poverty in Nigeria and how we can apply apprenticeship in resolving these bearing in mind how well it worked miracles for countries that took that route when they contended with issues such as we are facing now,” he said.
Also, the Minister of State, Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Maryam Yalwaji Katagum, said over the years, they have witnessed the Fund’s passionate campaign for skills development under the leadership of Sir Joseph N Ari, “which I must state here, aligns perfectly with the vision of the Federal Government of Nigeria with regards to economic diversification and job creation.”
She said the Ministry has been monitoring the progress of all agencies and parastatals under its purview and that the ITF was at the forefront of delivering the policies of the current administration.
She said through its numerous skills intervention programmes, the Fund has trained thousands of Nigerians that are gainfully employed.