The Presidential Jobs Board inaugurated in September by President Goodluck Jonathan, arose from its inaugural meeting on Friday, to announce that the result of national jobs survey of skills gap for the country would be out by January ending in 2015.
Addressing State House correspondents at the end of meeting presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo with majority of the members in attendance, the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Olusegun Aganga, said the survey would help the country know the skills gap sector by sector what it is required to fill that gap in the next five to 10 years.
He said inaugural meeting discussed how to to fullfil the President’s aspiration to create three million jobs in one year.
According to Aganga, the meeting identified a lot of quick wins and how they would go about implementing them and how they would realise the goals of the board within the shortest possible time.
He said, “today’s meeting was about having the right governance structure in place, how we can have sustainability in the whole programme, that there will be no reversal in policy, and that the secretariat is properly staffed with the private and public sector.
“The sectoral leaders that are here are now submitting all major projects where there can be significant job creation and the sectors of course include ICT, housing, micro and medium enterprises, infrastructure, professional skills and of course the urgency to deliver as quickly as possible.
“There will be a follow-up meeting within the next three weeks where all these key decisions will be made and communicated to Nigerians”.
Speaking more on skilled jobs gap, Aganga said, “Given where I sit in government, everywhere I go there are jobs, many jobs but the level of unemployment is high and the gap between jobs and unemployment is skills. So that is a critical factor and that is why there is a pillar dedicated to that. And that is why for the first time in this country we have begun a national job surveys of skills gap for the country so that sector by sector we will know what the gap is, know what it is required to fill that gap.
“We are not just looking at the existing gaps today, we are looking at where the investments are going to, what we are looking at in the next five to 10 years. For instance a lot of investments are going into automobile, we have automobile engineers, how many will we need in the next five to 10 years. A lot of investments are going to sugarcane to sugar. Do we have the skills to do that? How many will we need in the next three, five, 10 years. About N16 billion is going into petrochemicals, fertilizer, and methanol, we will need skilled players. A lot of investments are going into metals, iron ore and all that. Most of these positions at the moment in this country are not filled and if they are filled they are filled by foreigners. We do not have anything to ensure that our graduates coming out from the universities are very relevant to the economy today.
“So for the first time in this country we have embarked on that national survey with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and that survey will be ready in January. That survey will be used by training institutions like Industrial Training Fund (ITF) to ensure people are trained, not just train but train to work immediately.
“In Brazil that is what they use, they train two million people a year and 90 per cent of them get jobs within three months. So this is a fundamental part of the job of this board for example.
“The survey will not be used by the ITF alone, it will be used by the ministry of education because we want to start looking at our syllabus in secondary schools, to polytechnics, to our universities.
“For instance when we started the automobile industry, we had to work with the Nigerian Universities Commission (NUC) to make sure our universities have the right curriculum for our automotive engineers and today four universities have now started doing that.
“So we will be encouraging the private sector to set up skills training institutions, let them compete with government, let the employers employ the best that way you will get the best. So there are guidelines set up to make sure that the private sector is able to key in. So for me I’m excited about what is about to happen and that report will be ready by the end of January 2015.
A member of the board from the private sector, Tony Elumelu, on his part said the private sector was committed to making the aspiration of President Jonathan a reality.