Tinubu Orders ITF To Train 20 Million Local Artisans For Exportation 


By   Okunade Kehinde
President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has instructed the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to improve the skills of at least twenty million craftsmen over the course of the next five years in an effort to realign the economy.

Speaking at ITF’s corporate offices in Abuja, the organisation Director General, Afiz Oluwatoyin, stated that the initiative’s goal was to make sure that domestic craftsmen could compete favourably with their international counterparts.

Oluwatoyin maintained that the administration of President Tinubu is determined to reverse the undesirable tendencies in which foreign artisans with the necessary skills and tools fill local positions intended for domestic artisans.

“You see, in the past, Nigerian artisans have been operating illiterate, like low-level people. When you go outside, you find out that artisans are up there. In some countries, they earn more than the professors.

“You can’t pay. If you are not strong enough financially, you may not be able to pay them. They are well respected. When I came down here, I saw people from other countries taking up jobs. Of course they have the right to, we have the International Labour Organization and labour law which permits them. But found out that Nigerians were no longer giving fellow Nigerians jobs.

“People from other countries taking up our jobs, they have the right to, but it should be a big market that nobody should be pushed aside.

“Then, as I was thinking of this, the UN assembly came and our president, with the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, launched a program, the national talent export program. They want to export our talent. We want to scale up nigerian artisans, want to upgrade nigerian artisans.

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“We don’t want quackery in Nigeria again. We want standard artisans that can stand up anywhere in the world and measure. We want to upgrade Nigerian artisans to international standards. Nigerians all over the world, we all know are best at what they do.

“But without enough knowledge, the disgrace will be coming back home to us, which we already see little by little from some countries.

Oluwatoyin said the ITF would carry along union members before carrying out the programme, which he insisted that begin from categorization of the artisans ahead of the training.

“But we cannot scale up artisans without carrying along the artisan association. That’s why today we have decided to bring you in to introduce you to this program to tell you what we have for you. Because without you, the program may not succeed because you are the landlords.

“We would want to register everybody, then we begin to categorize. When we categorize, we set up training in training centers, both within ITF and private training centers. The president has given us the mandate to upskill 5 million artisans in the first year.

“The next year, another five million. So in four years, we are to upskill 20 million artisans. So the artisan will come in. ITF cannot handle everything. We have some training centers, also private centers in the country, we are going to certify. We are going to look at them.”

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