The trainees of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) programme have been warned not to sell the equipment given to them for empowerment, no matter the economic hardship facing them.
The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Mrs. Aisha Abubakar, who gave the warning in Abuja during the graduation ceremony of the first batch of the ‘Passion to profession’ training programme conducted by the ITF.
Abubakar stressed that no amount of hardship should make them sell their equipment as doing so would defeat the purpose of the skills acquisition programme.
She said rather than sell the equipment to raise money, they should approach the Bank of Industry through the ITF for loans at a single-digit interest rate to expand their businesses.
Abubakar said, “To promote the policy, we need to focus on skill acquisition because the Small and Medium Enterprises are key to development.
“I know the ITF is a part of the Bank of Industry’s programme; so when you get into problems, don’t sell your equipment. When you run into problems, go back to the ITF to refer you to where you will get access to finance so that your dream is realised.
“This is not the time for us to be joking; we need to be serious and we need to sit up; we have over 70 million people that have nothing to do and we want you to be leaders in this particular segment.”
She said youths in crisis-prone areas in the North-East would soon benefit from the National Cotton, Textile and Garment Policy.
The minister said in the next three months, the youths in the North-East would be trained in sewing, garment-making and image consulting.
She said the policy was aimed at revitalising the growth and development of the cotton, textile and garment industry.
Abubakar added that the Federal Government had paid priority attention to the revitalisation of the industry due to its huge job creation potential.
The Director-General, ITF, Mr. Joseph Ari, said the graduates were the first set of the 100 youths who would be trained.
Ari said the training would be in five batches, adding that the ITF was emulating the Brazilian model, which used mobile workshops to train youths.
He said it was one of the special intervention programmes to drive the Federal Government’s Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.
Ari stated that the Fund had designed strategies to enable it to achieve its mandate through the use of mobile workshops.
He added that the ITF was ready to provide dynamic and proactive services aimed at achieving its mandate in line with the government’s agenda.