FG moves to replace foreign workers with Nigerians

THE Federal government will soon start replacing foreigners occupying certain positions in some critical sectors, especially in areas where Nigerians had acquired the necessary skills, the Director General/Chief Executive Officer of the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, Mr Joseph Ari has said.

Ari, who spoke through the Anambra Area Manager of ITF during the commencement of a three -month National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) yesterday in Awka, said it was worrisome that despite the fact that millions of Nigerians were without work,
surveys, including those conducted by the ITF, had revealed that vacancies in numerous sectors of the economy were filled by foreigners on the guise that Nigerians lacked the requisite technical skills in those areas.

Ari said, “ It is worrisome that despite the number of Nigerians without work, several surveys, including those conducted by the ITF, have revealed that vacancies exist in some sectors of the economy that are currently being filled by persons other than Nigerians because of the lack of requisite technical skills of our people.”

According to him, this seeming intractable problem represented not only a clear danger as it threatened the attainment of key government policies, but also the nation’s unity, adding that it was for that reason that ITF  conceived the NISDP, with the aim of instilling skills in the teeming unemployed youths to ensure national growth.

The DG explained that since the inauguration of the programme, ITF had trained no fewer than 100,000 Nigerians in over 30 trades and crafts, adding that most of the beneficiaries had become successful entrepreneurs and employers of labour.

He added that in Anambra State, for instance, NISDP had trained 2500 youths, adding that 300 of them with skills in the areas of welding and fabrication, tailoring and fashion design, as well as plumbing and pipe fitting would be equipped.

“The selected trades and crafts were chosen based on an in-depth study that revealed their projected value addition to the beneficiaries and their potentialities to provide a sustainable means of livelihood for the trainees on graduation.

“Unlike the previous phases where the ITF relied solely on the state government for starter packs, ITF will provide every beneficiary of this phase with a starter pack. The aim is to ensure that all the beneficiaries are able to start their businesses immediately.

“I am pleased to say that so far, the programme has achieved all its objectives as the results of a tracking system that monitors the development of graduates of the programme showed that up to 90 percent of the beneficiaries have sustainable livelihood, either as paid workers, or as entrepreneurs who are even employing others.”

He, however, observed that with the large number of Nigerians currently unemployed, the 300 youths that commenced the training yesterday were like a drop of water in the ocean, appealing the Anambra State government to partner with ITF to tackle the hydra-headed problem of unemployment by sponsoring additional number of youth through the payment of the N5000 monthly stipend to the trainees and providing them with starter packs at the end of the training.
Speaking on behalf of the state governor, Chief Willie Obiano, the state commissioner for youths entrepreneurship and sports, Dr Uju Nwogu, commended the federal government for its commitment in job creation and diversification of the economy as envisioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
She assured ITF of the willingness of the state government to partner it in the training and skills acquisition for the youths, advising the trainees to take the programme serious by remaining focused and determined to succeed.

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