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Business News of Wednesday, 22 June 2022


ITF puts Nigeria’s labour force at 69m

Director-General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF),  Joseph Ari Director-General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari

The Director-General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari, yesterday said almost 15.7per cent of hard-to-fill vacancies are ascribed to lack of basic and advanced skills

Ari, who stated this during the Nigeria Employers Summit, with the theme: ‘The Private Sector an Engine for National Development’ in Abuja, said the labour force stands at 69 million from the working population, representing 57 percent.

He said out of the 69 million labour force, 29 million are youths (15-34years representing 43per cent of the labour force).

He said from the labour force (69 million), 44per cent are fully employed (30 million), 33 percent are unemployed (23 million) and 23per cent are underemployed (16 million). These are statistics from Bureau of Statistics (NBS) 2020.

Ari noted that the ITF-UNIDO Skills Gap Assessment Report, 2017, stated that the working population who are (15 – 64 years are able and willing to work) is estimated to be 122 million out of which 56 percent (68 million) are youth (15 – 34 years).

Ari said the statistics may be due skills mismatch/lack of employable skills, irregular academic calendar due to strikes, inadequate education curriculum, lack of emphasis on life skills, more of theories than practice, practical, negative societal view of vocational skills acquisition and entrepreneurship, rural-to-urban migration and lack of interest in agriculture.

He also identified economic recession and poor infrastructure as another factor.

“When we had the assessment study on the sixth priority sectors of the economy with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), we found out that the jobs are actually there, but we do not even have the requisite Nigerians to occupy those jobs.

“ITF has been at the forefront of advocating the need for including the Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Nigerian educational curriculum,” he said.

He said the ITF had been working round the clock on the student's industrial work experience, where you bridge the gap between the issue of theory and practice and the negative societal view of vocational skills or position and entrepreneurship.