The Minister of Labour and Employment, Sen. Chris Ngige has said that President Muhammadu Buhari is poised to achieve significant reduction in unemployment rates in the country, through the construction of new skills acquisition centres as well as completion and rehabilitation of abandoned centres.
Ngige made the disclosure to newsmen during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Federal Specialist Skills Acquisition Centre, in Ifitedunu, Dunukofia Local Government Area of Anambra State.
“The good news is that the Federal Government is assiduously working towards achieving a significant and sustained reduction in the high rate of unemployment in the country, within a short and medium time frame, through well-articulated strategies which include the construction of new skills acquisition centres, completion and rehabilitation of abandoned and dilapidated centres across the country”, he said.
The Minister emphasised that the focus on vocational skills acquisition as a strategy to combat youth unemployment is predicated on its successful deployment by both developing and developed nations to stem the tide of unemployment and trends in modern labour market demand for a developing nation like Nigeria.
He added that the specialised skills acquisition centres are also designed to provide hands-on skills in modern building and construction skills, including welding and fabrication to produce metal doors among others.
“We are focusing on skills acquisition because of the trends in modern labour market demands for a growing country like ours. With a huge housing deficit of 17 million and with the estimate construction of 1000 housing units in each of the 36 states and the Federal Capital Territory, Nigeria has the potential of creating over 3 million jobs in a year with huge multiplier effects. Countries like America, Britain and Canada are reported to have recorded 80 to 70% contributions to their Gross Domestic Products through housing and construction sector, this is achievable in Nigeria” Ngige enthused.
Speaking further, Ngige called on Nigerian youths to embrace blue collar jobs rather than indulging in an endless search for white collar jobs which are currently in limited in supplies.
In his remarks, the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr. Nkem Okeke appreciated President Muhammadu Buhari for the citing of the specialised skills acquisition centre in the state. He enjoined youths to avail themselves of the opportunity provided by the centre to equip themselves with prerequisite skills for self-actualisation.
On his part, the paramount ruler of Ifitedunu, His Royal Highness, Igwe, Dr. Emeka Ilouno expressed his community supports to the contractor in a bid to ensure speedy completion of the project. He availed the backing of his community to the re-election of President Muhammadu Buhari should he declare an intention to contest come 2019.