FG to save N180bn through ‘Brain Gain’ initiative

By 12:21 Sat, 19 Sep 2015 Comments

Director-General, ITF, Dr Juliet Chukas-Onaeko

The Federal Government is expected to save over N180bn in three years on first-rate skills training for Nigerian youths through the Industrial Training Fund’s ‘Brain Gain’ initiative.

The Director-General, ITF, Dr. Juliet Chukkas-Onaeko, said the initiative, an ITF-Diaspora volunteer skills development programme, had been designed to upgrade the quality of skills in Nigeria to international standards at little or no cost to the Federal Government.

She spoke while addressing stakeholders in Lagos on Thursday on the need for partnership towards the successful implementation of the mandate of the ITF, and in line with the skills needs of the country.

The Brain Gain initiative, according to her, will be powered by Nigerian experts in the Diaspora, who have volunteered to give back to their home country through direct knowledge and technology transfer at no cost to the ITF.

Chukkas-Onaeko noted that the Nigerian experts, who were specialists in various high-tech sectors, would work with the Fund based on a yearly volunteer calendar that would ensure that the target of annual quality training for four million youths was achieved.

She explained, “Out of the millions of Nigerian experts all over the world, we have mapped out plans to work with not less than 10,000 experts in renewable energy, robotics engineering, hospitality, oil and gas, and petrochemicals, among others, in the next three years.

“As a matter of fact, we have been able to identify over a million experts who have skills to contribute to this programme, but in the first phase, we are considering a conservative number of just 10,000. Most of these experts are professionally and financially accomplished people who are willing to play this role at their own cost.”

Explaining how the new initiative would cut down the agency’s cost of operation to the tune of N180bn, Chukkas-Onaeko said the ITF would save not less than N6m yearly for every global expert volunteering his/her services under the programme.

The DG said, “Analysts have put the cost of retaining an expert in the Diaspora under the ITF training scheme at N500,000 monthly. This is a very conservative figure, and it is the amount that would have been spent hiring each volunteer trainer for the programme.

“When this is computed for a three-year period, the total amount of money that will be saved by the government comes to around N180bn for 10,000 volunteers in three years.”

Chukkas-Onaeko also called for partnership and support from all stakeholders and employers of labour in the country, stressing that, for the programme to be successful, other cost components such as airfare and insurance could be further volunteered by stakeholders.

“For example, we are looking at a situation where airlines operating in Nigeria will voluntarily provide free flight tickets for these experts to further reduce the cost to them and increase the number of experts who will volunteer. Insurance companies can also come along to insure these experts to make them more comfortable to carry out their assignments,” she said.

The DG noted that in view of the numerous developmental challenges confronting Nigeria and the resolve and commitment of the Federal Government to initiate transformational changes that would place the country on the trajectory of sustained economic growth, it had become imperative for the ITF, as the foremost manpower development agency in the country, to review its strategies and modus operandi.



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