The Federal Government skills acquisition training programme has taken off with the inspection of facilities at the Lagos training Centre, by the Minister of Labour and Employment, Chris Ngige.
The Federal Government will in the next two months flag off skills acquisition training in 18 states, three in each geo-political zone, with Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, as strategic pivots for the first phase.
The Minister made this clarification when he led a team from his Ministry and the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) on a facility tour of Lagos Centre.
He said the Federal Government was worried over the rate of unemployment in the country and was already tackling it from different fronts.
Ngige pointed out that job creation is one of the cardinal programmes of the present administration, hence, it would be undaunted by severe challenges occasioned by the economic recession in rescuing millions from unemployment.
“Our decision to make blue collar jobs prominent in our multi-pronged job creation activities is informed by the limiting opportunities of white collar job against the elastic potentials offered by blue collar skills. The Federal Government will in the next two months flag off skills acquisition training in eighteen states (three in each geo-political zone) with Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory as strategic pivots for the first phase. We are therefore here to inspect facilities for effective take-off.”
Ngige explained that 50, 000 youths would be captured in the first phase of the training adding that coaching consumables and other logistics for a smooth and successful session would be provided by the government.
At the Centre, the minister inspected he auto-mechanic and electrical sections, carpentry and joinery, building construction unit, welding and metal fabrication unit, all equipped with modern machines.
However, the Principal of the Centre, Mr C Ojelade regretted that the equipments have been idle as result of poor power supply.
Also, the minister paid a visit to the office of the National Directorate of Employment, in Lagos, where he addressed the workers on the need to support the efforts of the Federal Government at job creation by rededicating themselves to duties.
He urged them to be ready for deployment even to the rural areas where the N-Power programme is already being implemented in Agriculture and Mining to contribute to the successful diversification of the economy.
The Minister also visited Government Technical College, Ikeja as well as Samsung Engineering Academy also in the same premises where trainees are taken through the repair of electronics such as fridges, air-conditioning sets, GSM telephones among others.
He commended them and pledged the readiness of the Federal Government to partner reputable private organisations in skills acquisition and training programmes.
Ireland Ambassador parley with Ngige; calls for renewed social partnership to curb labour unrest
The Republic of Ireland Ambassador to Nigeria, Sean Hoy and the Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige have held a crucial meeting on the possibility of mutual partnership between Nigeria and the Irish people.
The ambassador, who described the parley between the two as critical and timely, also called for renewed social partnership to tame the rampant cases of labour unrest in the country, which is occasioned by the dwindling economy.
He commended the economic diversification efforts of the Federal Government as a concrete step to pull the country out of recession, but called for stronger ties to enable Nigeria benefit from the Irish experience.
The Ambassador said “We are encouraged by this government, the determined efforts of President Buhari to diversify the economy, to invest in agriculture and other areas, to lessen dependence on oil, and import and pull the economy out of recession.
“When we had the meeting of ambassadors in Ireland in January, I told them we needed to renew our relationship with Nigeria to see if there is anything we can do to help or share together from our experience.”
He pointed out that tough times often give rise to adverse labour relations; but he added that Nigeria has strong factors of endowment as well as determined citizenry to surmount her present challenges.
In his response, the Minister of Labour and Employment, Senetor Chris Ngige said every nation passes through phases of development, “some good, others bad,” and that the determination of a people was always critical to pull through such situations.
“Your country, Ireland has passed through similar experience, a crushing recession and emerged from it. Nigeria would learn from the doggedness of the Irish people and also emerge from recession,” Ngige said.
He added that labour relations in a depressed economy all over the world was usually frosty as a result of dwindling earnings on the part of workers and employers, stressing that the cardinal focus of the present administration was to stem down job losses in a situation where government was purely handicapped to create many new jobs for the expectant population.
He further said Nigeria was mindful of unsettling her social equilibrium, hence, the determined efforts of government to expand social investment net to cushion the effects of recession, ease hardship and curb social unrest.
“We are diversifying into agriculture and mining to create jobs for the people. We are also focusing on Social Security. Out of 500,000 youths captured in our social intervention programme, 200, 000 are already working while plans are in top gear to take on the rest. We are investing on skills acquisition for these youths. The Conditional Cash Transfer has also taken off in nine states. By the end of February, we will take the number to 18 states while the remaining states are targeted for inclusion by the middle of the year.”
“We are doing all we can as government to move Nigeria out of recession. There is nothing permanent in life. So, Nigeria will come out of recession. I just came in from the inaugural meeting of the Federal Government Committee on Food Security as well as that on Social Investment. We are working to make sure we have enough food to feed ourselves.”
The Minister sought the technical assistance of the Ireland in the skills acquisition programme of the Federal Government and in International Labour Migration to enable Nigerians with skills to legally migrate and work in their country.