Despite the increasing wave of unemployment in Nigeria, the Director General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari, said it was difficult and hard to fill in vacancies that existed in 925 trades in the country’s labour market due to lack of requisites skills.

Ari disclosed this on Wednesday in Jos, during an interactive session with Journalists at the NUJ press Centre Jos, Plateau State.

Ari disclosed this on Thursday during an interactive session with journalists held at the NUJ Press Centre Jos, Plateau State.

“Despite the fact that a skill gap assessment in six priority sector of the Nigeria Economy, which was conducted by the ITF in conjunction with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) that was presented to stakeholders in Abuja, showed that although vacancies existed in all sectors surveyed, they were being filled by persons other than Nigerians, because of lack of requisite skills.

“Specifically, the report indicated that despite spiraling unemployment, 925 trades were difficult and hard to fill in the country’s labour market. The breakdown showed that 19.7 percent vacancies were in the housing sector, 13.9 percent in petrochemical sector, 14. 7 percent in other goods, 11.4 percent in the auto Industry, 10.3 percent in textiles, 10.1 percent in Stella, 8. 9 percent in the services sector and 3.3 percent in leather industry.

“The report noted that 15.7 percent of the hard to fill vacancies were due to lack of technical skills , 11.8 percent due to lack of basic IT skills, 9.2 percent due to lack of technical skills, 11.8 percent due to lack of basic IT skills, 9.2 percent due to lack of advanced IT skills and between 9.2 and 7.5 percent of the vacancies were due to the lack of requisite soft skills.”

He said President Muhammadu Buhari has brought meaningful growth and development to the Nigerian economy with the training of over 20 millions Nigerians in different vocational skills, who have turned into employers of labour today.

He urged states governors to partner with ITF in the provision of skills acquisition to citizens to reduce unemployment, kidnapping, rape and other social vices.

“From our skills intervention programmes, which are accessible to all Nigerians, particularly the youth, to our tailor-made skills acquisition and other direction training Centres and Area Offices nationwide, we are continually and consistently driving Nigeria to be amongst the skills hub of the world.”

He said President Buhari has re-articulated and refocused the activities of ITF towards with greater emphasis on skills acquisition in order to create jobs to stem rampant unemployment and breed a new generation of entrepreneurs in order to transform the Economic landscape of the country.

“Despite our efforts and those of the Federal Government, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Report of the 3rd quarter of 2018 revealed that as the number of the economically active or working age 15-64 years gree from 110.3 million to 111.1 million in the first quarter to 13.55 and 15.99 in the second and third quarters.”

He said ITF has paid over N6.6 billion to 510 companies as reimbursement, the biggest payout to contributing employers as reimbursement in a calendar year since the establishment of the ITF.

Ari challenged the Northern Governors Forum and private organisations to focus on the provision of skills acquisition to its citizens to reduce drug abuse, kidnapping and criminal acts.