NECA seeks government’s support to fund ITF
To leverage the significant expertise and experience of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), as an institution to empower Nigerians with skills and competencies, the Nigerian Employers’ Consultative Association (NECA), has called on the Federal Government to contribute and inject funds for the success of the Fund.
NECA, which decried that the Federal Government has not fully utilised the enormous capacity of the scheme to serve as a training institution to empower Nigerians with skills and competencies, also argued that the ITF could not survive only on contributions from private sectors to train Nigerians to acquire skills.
The Director-General of NECA, Segun Oshinowo, stated this during a one-day interactive session with the Organised Private Sector (OPS), on the challenges of the interpretation of the ITF Amendment Act 2011, in Lagos.
Oshinowo, who disclosed that 95 per cent of the funds injected into the ITF come from the private sector, said it cannot be enough, as government has to finance the scheme to broaden their capacity based on the expertise they have acquired over the years and experience to train more Nigerians.
“Government cannot just say private sector contribution should be utilised for training public sector manpower, it can’t work. Funding must come with capacity, there is a huge gap there for an institution that have come a long way that has built expertise, that has experience, all it requires is further contribution from government.
“Funds coming from the private sector cannot be enough and the demand on ITF based on what stakeholders know in terms of its capability is enormous, and there is nowhere we would be able to respond to them if there are no other sources of fund,” he said.
Among other issues raised at the meeting, Oshinowo said NECA would set up a committee with ITF to look at some of the issues as regards payroll contribution and come up with a definition to sum the basis of the collection to be taken from employers.
On his part, the Director-General of ITF, Joseph Ari, called for effective collaboration towards improving the trainings and skills that could be exported to earn the country Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs).
While ensuring that reimbursement of claims is not delayed, he said the scheme in 2017 paid over N2billion to over 1,000 companies.
To bridge the skill gap, Ari said ITF will assist employers of labour to serve as a compass as well as continue to play its role in building the capacity of the Nigerian workforce.
“There is a need work together to harmonise the issues of training and skills, where with the huge population of Nigeria, skills could be exported to earn FDIs. Imagine a population without skills leading to negative vices witnessed in the country today. Time has come for all of us to really join force to improve on trainings and skills of Nigerians,” Ari said.
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