By PALANG KASMI
For being a major force at tackling unemployment and poverty in the county, the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) has been commended for empowering over 5000 Plateau citizens, and the successful completion of 3 buildings.
The commendation was given Friday, by the Plateau State Governor, Rt. Hon Simon Bako Lalong during the commissioning of the ITF Modern Library Complex, Central Store and 16 Classroom Blocks of the ITF Staff School, at the ITF Headquarters, Jos, the Plateau State capital.
“We appreciate the ITF for its contributions to the development of the Plateau State and the nation as a whole which has transformed and refocused the organization to respond to the needs of Nigerians in the area of entrepreneurship and productivity”, Gov. Lalong stated.
Commending the ITF administration for its developmental achievements, Lalong said, it has led to the empowerment of thousands of Nigerian youths with cutting-edge skills for entrepreneurship and employability.
According to him, “Plateau State, people have benefited from several phases of the Fund’s flagship skills acquisition programmes such as the National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP), where over 1000 Plateau citizens were empowerment with skills and start-up kits. Most of the beneficiaries are today either earning a living in paid employment, or are successful entrepreneurs who are employing others. Because of the impact of the NISDP, the State Government sponsored additional number of trainees for the programme”.
He maintained his administration would continue to sponsor additional numbers of trainees for the ITF programmes because of the importance of acquiring skills in contemporary times.
“Our State is also one of the few, whose indigenes have benefited from the Women Skills Empowerment Programme (WOSEP) that trained and empowered indigent women, who are today either employed or running their businesses.
“Again, the State sponsored additional trainees and equally gave all the beneficiaries start-up packs. Another 200 Plateau youths were trained in culinary skills courtesy of the ITF’s Technical Skills Development Project (TSDP), while the physically challenged were equipped with skills in mobile repairs and hair making under the Skills Training Empowerment Programme for the Physically Challenged (STEPP-C).
“All the beneficiaries were supported with start-up kits. In all, through our active collaboration and support, over 5000 citizens have benefited from these ITF programmes”, he added.
The Governor also rated the ITF high for contributing towards the upliftment of the living conditions of its immediate community and the educational sector in the state through its Corporate Social Responsibility Programmes like the construction and commissioning of two boreholes for the Rantya and Hwolshe communities; training for free over 200 teachers, donation of a sick bay to St. John Vianney Seminary, renovating and equipping an ICT Centre at the Government Technical College, Bukuru as well as the beautification of the State Low-cost roundabout.
While pledging to collaborate with the organisation, Lalong said “We are doing a lot through the Plateau Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency (PLASMEDA) where we are training many youths, women and men in different areas, to empower them with skills that will support personal initiatives for wealth creation and also changing the orientation of our people, including civil servants, to turn away from relying on salary and government jobs in order to avoid heartache and disappointment particularly when they retire and cannot fend for themselves again”.
“When we empower our youths with skills, then we will be able to address unemployment and insecurity. Our Rescue Administration is investing in Technical Education and Entrepreneurship so as to inculcate in our younger ones the spirit of self-reliance, productivity and innovation. Already, our efforts have started yielding results with our impressive performance at the National MSME Awards where two of our sons, Jerry Mallo and Luka Pam Bot have broken national records. At the end of last year, we launched BENNIE PURIE, a sports car manufactured by Jerry Mallo”.
The Minister of Trade and Investment, Hon, Otunba Richard Adeniyi Adebayo, who was also the Special Guest of Honour at the commissioning ceremony commended the Plateau State Government and the ITF for undertaking many developmental projects that have direct bearing on humanity.
THE NIGERIA STANDARD reports that Otunba Adebayo who had earlier paid a courtesy on Governor Lalong at the Old Government House, Rayfield, Jos, noted that”the provision of a modern library is very apt because it will provide staff with more knowledge and skills to do their jobs”.
The Director General (DG) ITF, Sir Joseph Ari in his welcome remarks at the occasion said it has become imperative for the ITF to tackle poverty and unemployment under its 2016 ambitious plan tagged “The ITF Reviewed Vision ; Strategies for Mandate Actualisation”
According to the Director General, the modern Library Complex would accommodate E-Learning facilities for Engineering, Arts and Humanities, Social Sciences, Periodicals, and Dailies and also house a 250 Computer Based Test (CBT) facilities including office accommodation for staff.
The Central store, according to him “consists of the main building, office accommodation, storage facility, Marshal Bay and a modern parking lot, while the block of 16 classrooms is to create a conducive atmosphere to ensure children are equipped with skills at an early stage”.