Minister of Labour and Employment Senator Chris Ngige has advised beneficiaries of the skills training and empowerment programmes of the federal government to desist from selling machines and other tools given them to practice skills and create employment.
The minister, who stated this Monday during the second phase of the ministry’s empowerment scheme in Awka, Anambra state, said the programme would train and empower 3000 youths from each of the thirty-six states of the Federation and the FC T.
He urged the beneficiaries to put the items to good use and justify the N50 million spent on the items.
Ngige said: “The era when beneficiaries leave the venue only to sell the these items is gone. Go and use them to practice the skills you have been taught, employ yourselves and others. Where you have an existing business, use them for expansion and lift more people out of poverty. We have a monitoring team and we will involve the security agencies over any case of diversion of the machines.
“Time is also gone when we all queue up for white collar jobs. They are not even available any more. The global trend is now on blue collar jobs , with skills in information and technology which is a very wide area, in others like mechanics and mechatronics, in creativity such as designing and making of wears, building technology as in POP making, screeding, carpentry and wood works and most importantly, in multiple value chains in agriculture.
“ This empowerment programme for which we are here gathered, is therefore for those who will use these items to create wealth, further their businesses – those trained as unisex hair dressers, crop farmers and those who process the harvests of yams, maize, cassava and millet and so on. That’s the reason we have here, water-pumping machines for small irrigation, generators to power small shops, as well as industrial grinders and thrashers that process harvests.
“As the planting season approaches, we are giving more attention to agricultural tools in line with the emphasis of the Federal Government on self-sufficiency in food production. So, in the next phase , there will be more agricultural tools to enhance farming and create more employment.
“Luckily in the state, we have two specialist skills training centres at Alor and Ifite-Dunu. Both centres will be holding series of training by March with certificates, issued at the end of each session. And this qualifies one for empowerment from the Ministry or from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
“Of course, the NDE, our parastatal, will start its programme soon and more people would be keyed in through the Skills Department in my Ministry.
“The training and the empowerment scheme is for all Nigerians but I belong to a political party and that’s my primary constituency. So, members of our party will benefit more. Phase three and four of the programme will hold before the end of the year.”
On the renewed pressure over 2023 presidential race from party members, who, in their speeches at the event, insisted April 2022 date he already set to convey his decision was far, Ngige pleaded that he needed the remaining months for further consultation.
“ Easter is around the corner and that’s in April. There will be another event of this sort and there, I will make my stand known on the 2023 presidential race as I promised on December 31, 2021 during our end-of -the year gathering. Give me these remaining two months to round off consultations,” he said.
Dignitaries at the event included the director skills development and certification of the ministry, Engr.Tiza Shaskaa, Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, Chukwuma Agufugo, party chieftains including Kodilinye Okelekwe, C.J Nwosu, Ejike Njeze, chairmen and members of the party from all the local government areas in the state. .