The Honourable Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has declared training in emerging vocational trades as key to unlocking the potentials of Nigerian youths and stemming the tide of unemployment. The Minister also called for closer cooperation among Federal Government agencies charged with skills acquisition to ensure the full realization of government’s objectives on job creation.
Ngige made the assertions over the weekend in Kano in separate addresses to the graduands of the Ganduje Auto-Mechanic Training and Empowerment Scheme, the Kano Zonal Staff and Management of parastatals under the Ministry of Labour and Employment and the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).
“Training of youths in vocational trade is in line with President Muhammadu Buhari led administration’s cardinal objective on youth entrepreneurship and job creation. We have relentlessly been pursuing this in order to fully tap into the elastic opportunities provided by investments in blue collar jobs.”
Speaking further, the Minister enjoined Nigerian youths to key into the various vocational training programmes of the Federal Government among which are the N-Power initiative as well as other artisan and craftsmen training of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment offered by the Specialized Skills Upgrading and Vocational Training Centres.
“The Federal Government N-Power Build is an initiative under the N-power job creation scheme planned to develop workforce for a wide range of artisanal jobs in the Construction and housing industry.”
“This would impact on other economic sectors by building the capacity of a critical mass of young Nigerians interested in the construction and housing industry leading to efficient service delivery and increase the number of available job opportunities, reduce unemployment, improve incomes level, poverty reduction and economic vulnerability of unemployed Nigerians.” He stated.
 Similarly, while inspecting a massive but largely under-utilized facilities at the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in Kano, Sen. Ngige described the situation as antithetical to the change Agenda of the present administration and urged the Kano State Coordinator of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) Iliyasu Ahmed to urgently exploit the training capacity at the centre for the benefits of the teaming Kano youths.
“The essence of inter-agency collaboration especially when they are offering the same service is utmost in achieving the purpose for which government created such agencies.  The NDE office in Kano is poorly equipped, though we are planning to do something urgent about this, but here we are amidst expansive facilities at the ITF. A situation where the NDE in the same city cannot take a full advantage of this is not excusable,” Ngige said     
“All the skills acquisition centres across the Federation owned by the states and Federal government must work in mutual collaboration so as to be on the same page in terms of quality of skills, certificates awarded, as well as enable them share in the benefits of inter-agency cooperation. I therefore, expect that in the next few months, I would have gotten a full report on the number of trainees the NDE has brought for different training programmes here.” The facilities inspected included automobile mechanic workshop, electrical, furniture and wood works, as well as agricultural farms.
Later at the zonal office of the Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF) Kano, the Minister frowned at the contributions from the zone comprising Kano, Jigawa, Sokoto, Zamfara and Kebbi states, saying it was grossly below its potential.
 He urged the management and staff to be alive to their responsibilities. Placed fourth out of the six zones in the country and with a contribution of about 160 million in 2016, the Minister expressed dissatisfaction over the development, insisting the zone could do much better.
The Minister therefore, charged the agency to reach out to the public, enrol more agencies and companies so as to enable workers benefit from the provisions of the Compensation Act while pledging the commitment of the Federal Government to the welfare of Nigerian workers.  
Samuel Olowookere
Deputy Director Press


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