Governor Hope Uzodimma of Imo state has advocated for a bill that would compel multinational companies to allocate a percentage of their corporate social responsibility funds to the Industrial Training Fund (ITF).
Uzodimma said the fund would enable ITF sustain and train more Nigerian youths in various skills, as well as empower them with start-up packs.
The governor made the call at the closing ceremony of the 2021 National Industrial Skills Development Programme (NISDP) for 100 beneficiaries on Friday, in Owerri.
“There is so much funds in the corporate social responsibility accounts of multinationals, oil servicing companies and oil companies that if dedicated to ITF would help train more youths for self-reliance,” he said.
Uzodimma, who was represented by his Commissioner for Labour, Employment and Productivity, Mr Jonathan Nweke, said when passed, the law should reflect a tax cut for the multinationals.
He said the state government had developed clusters for skills acquisition and was presently discussing with the CBN to inculcate the facilities into its schemes for loan disbursement.
The governor said the state was also reviewing its school curricula to enable a more technical orientation and trainings for pupils and students, as obtained in civilized climes.
He said the Igbo apprenticeship system, which had helped the growth of many businesses, especially in the South East, should be encouraged and sustained.
He urged beneficiaries of the NISDP to imbibe the basic elements of financial management and as well align with peer groups to benefit from government incentives for cooperative societies.
Uzodinma said the state government would partner with ITF to increase the beneficiaries in the state to about 1,000 per programme.
Earlier, the Director-General of ITF, Mr Joseph Ari said so far, 3,905 Nigerians had been equipped with skills in two trades namely, catering and event management; and plumbing and pipe fitting.
“This phase of the programme, which is the closing ceremony taking place today, commenced in the third quarter of 2021. The training lasted for three months.
“In Imo, 100 youths were trained in catering and event management; and plumbing and pipe fitting.
“I believe that if Nigerians were equipped with requisite skills, unemployment and poverty would be reduced,” said Ari, who was represented by Mr Stephen Warave, the Deputy Director, Internal Audit, ITF Headquarters.
He charged beneficiaries to utilize the opportunity provided by the training and the start-up packs to improve their lives and contribute meaningfully to the economy and actualization of the policy objectives of the Federal Government.
He appealed to state Governments, Organised Private Sectors (OPS), Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), Faith-Based Organisations, politicians, and other stakeholders to collaborate with ITF in its efforts to train Nigerians.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that items, including oven and plumbing kits, were presented to the beneficiaries as start-up packs.
One of the beneficiaries, Miss Ruth Obi, commended ITF and the state government for the training programme, promising to ensure judicious utilization of the oven provided to her. (NAN)