By Golok Nanmwa ,Jos
Director-General of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Joseph Ari on Friday said that Fund has contributed so much to the growth and development of the Country .
Ari made this known while speaking during the 50th anniversary celebration of the Fund in Jos .
He also said that plans are underway for the mass production of the mobile phone, which was presented to President Muhammadu Buhari, in June this year by the ITF .
” The Fund has also accelerated the implementation of its skills intervention programmes and other service offerings that were specially targeted at addressing the immediate needs of our numerous clients. “
In his words “As you may be aware, it was on a Friday, 50 years ago, precisely on the 8th of October 1971, that the administration of General Yakubu Gowon (rtd) officially signed into law the Decree establishing our great institution.
He added that the decision to establish the Fund by the Federal Government was informed by the fact that 10 years after the euphoria of independence in 1960, Nigeria was still grappling with the twin problems of replacing the departing colonial manpower with qualified Nigerians as well as growing the industrial base of the new Nation.
Ari also said that 50 years later, that we are here celebrating this landmark is tribute to our commitment, resilience and dedication as an organisation and its workforce, as we have had to overcome numerous hamstrings and debilitating challenges that stood on our path while also contributing significantly to the goals and objectives of the Federal Government, even as other institutions with supposedly greater potential and more robust mandates have either gone under or are floundering and flailing.
“The Fund, since 1971 has had at the helm, seasoned technocrats, acclaimed academics and versatile administrators with clear visions and commitment to ensuring the full achievement of its mandate.
Ari also said that the incumbent administration on assumption of office unveiled the first phase of the ITF Reviewed Vision: Strategies for Mandate Actualisation, which was considered by many as the most ambitious plan by the ITF since establishment.
” Under the plan, new skills intervention programmes were introduced while existing programmes were expanded, leading to the training of over 500,000 Nigerians with cutting-edge technical skills in 4 years.
Ari added that The beneficiaries were all empowered with start-up packs for the first time since the establishment of the Fund. Similar strides have been recorded in infrastructural development, direct training services, collaborations and other facets of the Fund’s activities.
In light of the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Fund launched the second phase of the Reviewed Vision, which sought to consolidate on the achievements of the first phase and address the numerous challenges faced by our clients as a result of the pandemic. One key achievement of the plan that will terminate in 2024 is the assembling of the ITF mobile phone which was produced by the Model Skills Training Centre, Abuja.
Also, due to the pandemic, the Fund accelerated the process of automating its business processes in order to enhance efficiency and reduce person-to-person contact. To this end, the SIWES online platform has been created while the enabling equipment for e-learning have been procured and deployed for remote implementation of our programmes.
He said that tremendous resources were also invested in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) to boost our relationship with our host community. To this end, the Fund embarked on a number of projects including the construction and commissioning of bore hole projects in Rantya and Hwolshe communities of Plateau State, the construction and installation of Automated Teller Machines (ATM) at the Headquarters in order to ease the cash transactions of the immediate communities and the beautification of the roundabout at state lowcost in Rantya as part of the Fund’s contribution to the aesthetic beauty of the State.
The Director General further said that the Fund has trained over 200 teachers to update their skills, donated desks and ICT equipment to Government Technical College Bukuru and Government Science School Kuru and also commissioned a sick-bay at St. John Vianney Minor Seminary Barkin Ladi.
He also said that “We shall continue to extend such support to our host communities if finances and governmental policies permit.
Your Excellencies, without fear of accusations of self-adulation and self-glorification, it is obvious that the Industrial Training Fund has done remarkably well in 50 years of its existence.
He lauded former Director Generals of the Fund for leaving indelible footprints and legacies that have ensured that the organisation has not merely survived but continually remained relevant to the achievement of national policy goals and objectives.
They include Dr. Abel Ubeku, Mrs Nene Archibong, Alh. Mohammed Dikko, Alh. Lawal Tudun Wada, Alh. Hassan Ahmed II, mni, Prof. Olu Emenifo Akerejola, Prof. Longmas Sambo Wapmuk, OON and Dr. Juliet Chukkas-Onaeko,
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