The Director General of Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari has stated that Nigeria recovered the recession caused by the COVID-19 pandemic through the laudable economic policies of the Buhari administration.
Ari, in an exclusive interview with DAILY INDEPENDENT during the Fund’s 2020 annual performance review meeting, held at the ITF headquarters, Jos, noted that the ITF supported the President’s efforts through the provision of requisite skills using its acquisition programmes that helped most Nigerians recover their sources of livelihood.
He said: “Across the globe, all societies, be they developed, developing and underdeveloped, struggled to cope with the outbreak of the COVID-19.
“As a country, Nigeria bore the brunt of the virus more than most, as our economy slipped into recession for the second time in less than five years.
“We thank God that we have come out of the recession because of the very laudable policies and steps taken by the Buhari administration.
“While the recession lasted, governments, both at the Federal and State levels reverted to massive borrowing to stabilise and sustain the economy.”
Ari emphasised that ITF as an organisation, which was reliant on the Organised Private Sector for sustenance, felt the ripple effects of the pandemic as most of its clients either rationalised their workforce or closed shop.
He explained that despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the ITF recorded impressive achievements in some key areas, which includes the implementation of some skills acquisition programme and the commissioning of several projects.
“Owing to our unwavering commitment over the years to equipping Nigerians with skills for employability and entrepreneurship, the ITF was among the few agencies of the Federal Government that was requested to forward submissions on lifting 100 million Nigerians out of poverty in 10 years.
“If our proposal, which is currently receiving the attention of the authorities, is assented to, the ITF will train over 7 million Nigerians in the agriculture, construction and faculty maintenance, information and communication technology, manufacturing and service sectors between 2021 and 2031”, he said.
He, however, admonished the ITF workforce to be dedicated to their duty and put in their maximum effort to fight unemployment with the provision of requisite skills to Nigerians.