In a bid to reduce unemployment rate in their constituencies, members of the Senate Commitee on Industry, have commenced subtle lobby for the locations of skills acquisition centres being proposed by the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, for youths in every state of the country.
Director General of ITF, Joseph Ari, disclosed the government’s plan when he appeared for budget defence of the agency before the committee, chaired by Senator Adetokunbo Abiru (APC Lagos East).
Ari said the establishment of the skills acquisition centres was part of the federal government’s efforts to address the issue of unemployment, especially among youth in the country.
Açcording to him, thousands of youths, from the centres, would be equipped with required innovative skills that will take them off the streets and make them self-employed.
“Setting up of the industrial skills training centres, is ,central to the core mandate of ITF, the very reason the agency is very resolute and passionate in putting them in place across the states of the federation,” he said.
Apparently impressed with the move of ITF, some members of the committee like Senators Isah Jibrin (APC Kogi East), Christopher Ekpeyong (PDP Akwa Ibom North West), Danjumah La’ah (PDP Kaduna Central) and Muhammad Adamu Bulkachuwa (APC Bauchi North), asked the director general about locations of the centres in their states.
Specifically, Senator Jibrin complained to the ITF boss that records before him show Kogi West and Central as locations of such centres without considering Kogi East Senatorial District.
Responding, the director general said locations of the centres across the states are devoid of political affiliation of people in the states or senatorial zones.
“In establishing the centres, we consult with respective state governors for the required buy in at that level, but with observation made here today, I promise to also carry along distinguished senators,” he said.
Earlier in his presentation on 2021 budget implementation by the agency and 2022 budgetary pooposals, the ITF boss said while a total budgetary vote of N44.5billion was earmarked for the agency in 2021, the projected estimate for 2022 is N42.5billion, which shows difference of N2.1billion.
Ari said the N2.291billion capital vote for the year has not been expended due to lack of cash backing for projects lined up for execution.
But the Director of Procurement in his explanation, said all the procurement processes delaying execution of capital component of the agency’s 2021 budget have been done, which will make slated contracts to be executed before the end of the year.
In his closing remarks at the session, chairman of the committee, Senator Adetokunbo Abiru, said: “ITF is very germane to the economy of the Nation and needs to redouble its effort in the establishment of skills acquisition and vocational centres across the country.
“Since we have moved from the era of Industrial revolution, such centres should be driven more by innovation,” he said.
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