The Minister of Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, has challenged the Industrial Training Fund, ITF, to ensure that the Nigerian economy is fully industrialized before the end of President Goodluck Jonathan's administration.
Mr. Aganga issued the challenge on Friday in Jos, during the Industrial Training Fund's annual review and official commissioning of the organisation's centre.
The minister, while emphasizing on the relevance of the ITF, to Nigeria's economic development, urged the Fund to develop more manpower to improve the country's economic fortune.
"As you are well aware, no nation makes any meaningful progress without availability of relevant and functional skills. Unless skills are developed, our economy will not grow," the minister said.
Mr. Aganga commended the ITF for planning to take the Nigerian economy to what he called "glorious land" to measure up with other major world economies.
"I, therefore, commend your partnership and collaboration with the Institute of Technical Education Service [ITEES] of Singapore, National Service for Industrial Apprenticeship [SENAI] Brazil, Highbury College, United Kingdom and other World class organization for the promotion and development of technical and vocational skill training in Nigeria," he said.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Director General of the Fund, Longmas Walkmuk, said the organization has introduced 37 new training skills acquisition centres in the 36 states of the federation including Abuja to train 10,000 Nigerian youth in its first phase of the programme.
The ITF boss informed that 10,000 graduate trainees from ten states chosen from the 6 geopolitical zones will soon be released into the labour market to assist in the manpower development of the country' economy; and urged the private sector to take advantage of the fresh trainees to increase their yield.
"A total of 10,000 youth, from the selected states and the FCT, are being trained in the first phase of the programme which commenced on 3rd December, 2012 and is ending in March, 2013," he said.
Mr. Walkmuk said the aim of introducing the skill acquisition centres across Nigeria was to ensure that an "industrial revolution" of the Nigerian economy as planned by the Goodluck Jonathan administration occurs in 2020.