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Lack of requisite skills responsible for rising unemployment in Nigeria – ITF boss

Mr Joseph Ari, Director-General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), has blamed the rising unemployment rate in Nigeria on the lack of requisite skills among the nation’s youths.

Ari told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), on Thursday in Jos that there were many job vacancies in the economy that were waiting for skilled manpower.

Reports from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), have, over the years, indicated a worsening unemployment rate, with the figure rising to 15.99 million in the third quarter of 2018.

“Based on a Skills Gap Assessment survey in the six priority sectors of the Nigeria economy, conducted by the ITF in collaboration with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), vacancies exist in all sectors.

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“The unfortunate truth is that the vacancies are always filled by non-Nigerians, because the unemployed Nigerians lack the requisite skills.

“From our survey, 925 trades have been difficult and hard to fill in the country’s labour market.

“Our survey showed that 19.5 per cent vacancies are yet to be filled in the housing sector while the petrochemical sector has more than 13.9 per cent vacancies waiting for skilled workers.

“The auto sector has 11.4 per cent vacancies, while 10.3 per cent vacancies are still available in the textiles sector,” he explained.

Other areas include steel, 10.1 per cent, service, 8.9 per cent, while the leather sector has 3.3 jobs waiting for the right workers.

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He said that 15.7 per cent of all the hard-to-fill vacancies were due to lack of technical skills, while 11.8 per cent were due to lack of basic Industrial Training (IT), skills.

According to him, 9.2 per cent of the vacancies are due to lack of advanced IT skills, while 9.2 per cent and 7.5 per cent of the vacancies are yet unfilled is because of the lack of requisite soft skills.

Ari disclosed that the ITF has created some programmes in its bid to address the specific gaps revealed by the survey so as to stem the spiralling unemployment rate.

He listed some of the programmes to include the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP), and the Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration (Training on wheels).

Others included the Designing and Garment Making (Training on wheels), for Nigerian youths, Manure production, Aqua-culture/fish farming and Post-harvest techniques and Product Development.

Another programme, he said, is the Skills Training and Empowerment Programme for the Physically Challenged (STEPP-C).

“The programmes, which commenced operations in 2018, have trained 300,000 Nigerians that have been empowered with start-up packs,” he told NAN. (NAN).