The Director-General/Chief Executive of the Industrial Training Fund, Mr. Joseph Ari, and the Ilorin Office Manager, ITF, Mr. Simeon Ogbonna, have said that the ITF has empowered 11,000 Small and Medium Enterprises across the nation.
This, they said, was achieved during the just concluded National Industrial Skills Development Programme.
According to them, the SMEs are the bedrock of economic growth, industrialisation and commerce.
Speaking on Thursday during the closing ceremony of the programme in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, they stated that the SMEs would contribute substantially to the Gross Domestic Product, adding that efforts should be made to empower them.
Ari, represented by the Director of Procurement, ITF, Ahmed Elkyari, said 11,000 trainees across the federation received start-up packs which cost the ITF several millions of naira.
He stated that the programme was the result of the committed and relentless efforts of the ITF in line with its mandate, and as its contribution to the Federal Government’s policy of job and wealth creation.
He said, “There is no country in the world that the SMEs are not the backbone of its economy. In some countries, the SMEs contribute between 70 per cent and 80 per cent of the GDP. That is why the ITF said that it’s the way to go.
“Today’s event marks a watershed since we commenced implementation of the NISDP as we have taken a step further from merely training and equipping the youths with knowledge and skills, to providing them with start-up packs to enable them to set up their businesses and hit the ground running.”
Ogbonna said 300 trainees from Kwara State benefited from the programme.
He added that they were trained for three months in any trade of their choice ranging from tailoring to fashion designing, welding and fabrication, plumbing and pipe-fitting