The Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has decried poor perception and absence of clear policies on technical skills acquisition in the country.
Sir Joseph Ari, ITF Director-General who made this known on Thursday in Abuja at its first National Skills Summit in Nigeria, expressed worry over the challenges facing the organisation.
Nigeria News Agency reports that ITF organised the skills summit to provide a forum for a broad spectrum of stakeholders to collectively deliberate on ways and solutions to tackle unemployment and skills acquisition problems in Nigeria.
“Till date, many Nigerians still believe that hands-on skills are a preserve of the poor and disadvantaged in the society as they are viewed as dirty, dreaded and dangerous.
“This perception and other challenges have led to skills shortages in trades and vocational areas that Nigerians should be well equipped to perform,’’ he said.
Ari also decried lack of synergy and co-operation between agencies with mandate for skills development for job creation leading to desperate efforts that were yielding little results.
According to him, he formed his views from a Skills Gap Survey in six priority sectors of the Nigerian economy that was conducted by ITF in liaison with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
Ari said that the survey showed that in spite rising unemployment, vacancies still existed in several sectors of the economy that were still reliant on foreign labour to be filled.
According to him, if more than 20 million Nigerians are not employed and yet technicians are imported, the answer can only be that Nigerians have not fully embraced skills acquisition as a sustainable alternative to white collar jobs.
“This mindset and the perception that hands-on skills are for a certain group of Nigerians has to change,’’ he advised.
The ITF boss identified another problem as disconnect between the schools and the needs of the industries.
He said that this formed the subject of a presentation by the Human Capital Group at the Financial System Strategy (FSS) 2020 International Conference on the state of the Nigerian educational system.
According to the presentation, the emphasis in Nigerian institutions has been on verbal activity rather than skills acquisition and problem solving activities.
He said the presentation also noted that the educational system had not been tailored to meet developmental needs of the nation.
“Closely related to this is the absence of a reliable Labour Market Information (LMI) that would have guided Nigerians in career choices and institutions of learning on industry needs.
“Consequently, institutions of learning and human capacity development institutions work on a whim, in the dark and without any form of guidance.
“The effect of this is that institutions train potential workers on skills that are not needed by the labour market,’’ he said.
He said in order to address these problems, ITF organised the summit on “Skills for Employability and Job Creation, and Strategies for Developing Employability Skills in Nigeria’’ and “Industry Needs and Education Curricula,” as sub themes.
He expressed the hope that the summit would propound policy guidelines for skills development, identify and assess existing skills development and labour market contexts in Nigeria.
Amb. Mariam Katagum, the Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, said the Federal Government had placed a lot of emphasis on skills acquisition as a vehicle for job creation and poverty reduction.
Katagum said skills acquisition was one of the enablers of the National Enterprise Development Programme (NEDEP), adding that it was the path to go as many countries globally have taken similar approaches to reduce unemployment to single digit figures.
Katagum, also the Chairperson of the skills summit lauded the ITF for convening the summit and initiating other novel programmes that have turned around the lives of thousands of Nigerians across the country.
She said that the summit was coming at a crucial time in the country, as the rising unemployment had led to the insecurity witnessed across Nigeria today.
“To address the insecurity challenges, we have to create jobs by equipping Nigerians with skills to take advantage of the policies that have been put in place while striving to align our educational system to the current needs of the country,’’ Katagum said.
Edited By: Fela Fashoro/Ese E. Ekama
Health workers suspend 7-day nationwide warning strike
Members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU), have suspended their seven-day nationwide warning strike.
Mr Josiah Biobelemoye, JOHESU National Chairman, made this known in a statement at the end of its expanded National Executive Council meeting on Sunday in Abuja.
Biobelemoye directed all members of the union to resume work by Sept. 21 and also await further directives.
The union demands included disparity in the payment of hazard and inducement allowances to workers in the frontline containing the spread of COVID-19 among others.
“This is to bring to your notice that the 7-day nationwide warning strike embarked upon by the members of the Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) would come to an end midnight of today, Sept. 20.
“By this notice, all health workers under the five Unions that make up Joint Health Sector Unions (JOHESU) and Assembly of Healthcare Professional Associations (AHPA) shall return to work on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 across all Federal Health Institutions in the country.
“However, the Federal Government through the Ministry of Health has continued to exhibit high level of bias/discrimination by refusing to address the demands of our members as presented by JOHESU within the seven days of the warning strike as was done to other bodies in the health sector.
“The next line of action would be decided in due course by the expanded National Executive Council of JOHESU.”
He also alleged that rather than call JOHESU for dialogue to resolve the trade dispute, the Federal Government resorted to intimidation and blackmail of the union leaders using all forms of instruments and faceless organisations.
He further said that JOHESU would continue to use all legitimate means to defend the rights and demands for the welfare of its members in the health sector.
“Nigerians should bear us witness that JOHESU has shown high patriotism by demanding that public health system in Nigeria is sustained and adequately financed for effective, efficient and affordable healthcare service delivery.
“In view of the above and in line with the resolution of the expanded NEC meeting held physically and virtually today, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, I hereby declare that the seven days warning strike is suspended.
“All our members are directed to resume work by Monday, Sept. 21, 2020 while awaiting further directives.
“Finally, I wish to thank all the leaders at all strata and members for their commitment, selflessness, cooperation and resilience during the seven days warning strike,” he said.
Edited By: Dianabasi Effiong/Felix Ajide
Uni-Abuja mourns its chancellor, Emir of Zazzau
The Vice-Chancellor of University of Abuja, Gwagwalada, Prof. Abdul-Rasheed Na’Allah, has commiserated with the family of Alhaji Shehu Idris CFR, Chancellor of the University, who died on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020 at the age of 84.
The Vice-Chancellor in a statement by the Head Information and University Relations, Dr Habib Yakoob, on Sunday in Abuja said: “We are indeed proud of his great and superb achievements as the first-rate Emir of modern Zaria.
Na’Allah said, “On behalf of the Governing Council, Senate, Staff and Students of the University of Abuja, we condole with the Governor of Kaduna State, Malam Nasir El-Rufai, the Zazzau Emirate Council, the entire people of Kaduna State, and Nigerians, on this terrible loss.”
He described the death of the Chancellor, who was also the Emir of Zazzau, as a rude shock, especially at the moment that the institution needs his counsel most.
“The late Emir will always be remembered as a dutiful, very resourceful and committed individual, who believed in the development of education, particularly of our dear University, the University for National Unity.
“During his years of service as our Chancellor, he worked incredibly hard to draw federal and private supports to the University.
“His total support and contributions, quality advice and superior leadership as our Chancellor of many years will remain indelible.
“His demonstration of unequal forthrightness, commitment and accountability, transparency and enthusiasm for the growth and development of the country should be emulated by our leaders and well-meaning Nigerians.
“We are glad that he remained a worthy and accomplished leader till his death.
“I pray that Allah in his infinite mercies, reward him abundantly and give the family the fortitude to bear this great loss,” he said.
Edited By: Felix Ajide
Survival Fund: FG releases registration schedule as portal opens Monday
As the portal for the registration of prospective beneficiaries for the Survival Fund opens on Monday, the Federal Government has released the timetable for categories of businesses to register.
A statement issued in Abuja on Sunday by the Project Delivery Office stated that the portal which opens at 10 PM, will have educational institutions as the first category of beneficiaries to register.
“Nigerians interested in the Payroll Support scheme are to note that the site for registration will be open from 10 pm Monday September 21, 2020.
“In order to ensure seamless registration process, the Project Delivery Office (PDO) has designed a registration schedule.
“Registration for Payroll Support will start with educational institutions on Monday and will be followed with businesses in the hospitality industry on Friday September 25 beginning from 12 A.M.
“The portal will also be open to other category of small businesses from 12 A.M., on Monday September 28, 2020,” the statement said.
The office therefore advised those interested in benefiting from the fund to take note of the schedule and also log on to http://www.survivalfund.ng to register for the payroll support initiative.
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the survival fund is a conditional grant to support vulnerable Micro and Small enterprises in meeting their payroll obligations and safeguard jobs in MSMEs from the shock of the COVID– 19 pandemic.
The scheme is estimated to save at least 1.3 million jobs across the country, while targeting an average of 35,000 individuals per state.
Edited By: Ismail Abdulaziz
Osimhen, young lad with head of 40-year-old — Gattuso
Napoli’s coach Gennaro Gattuso on Sunday dished out rare praises on new Nigerian signing Victor Osimhen, describing him as “a young lad with the head of a 40-year-old”.
Osimhen became Napoli’s record signing when he joined from Lille in the summer for a reported 70 million euros.
He was brought on for his debut after an hour of Sunday’s Serie A match and the Nigerian made an instant impact in their 2-0 win.
”I was struck by Osimhen’s serious attitude. He has not forgotten where he came from and the sacrifices he made.
”He built himself up on his own and I congratulate him for his will and desire.
“He is a young lad with the head of a 40-year-old. I hope he does not make mistakes and does not change his attitude,” Gattuso said.
Osimhen, 21, grew up in a tough district of Lagos, lost his mother at a young age and along with his brother and sister, sold bottled water in Lagos traffic to help his family make ends meet.
Gattuso said he wanted to get Napoli back into the top four again after last year’s turbulent season, where they finished seventh after a late recovery and won the Coppa Italia.
”It is natural that, given the history of the last 10 years, we want to return to the top four.
”I want to see a well-organised team that have clear principles in their heads and that know how to make themselves available in difficult moments,” the coach said.
Edited By: Chinyere Nwachukwu and Olawale Alabi)