The Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment, Ambassador Mariam Yalwaji Katagum, has lamented what she described as the alarming level of poverty and illiteracy in the north as well as the rate of unemployment in the area.
“According to statistics, there are about 13 to 14 million out of school children in the north today,” she said on Friday at the commissioning of the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) Katsina area office complex.
She noted further that, “the region also ranks highest in terms of poverty and illiteracy levels,” arguing that, “the only way that the attendant effect of the illiteracy, poverty and unemployment in the north and indeed in Nigeria can be reduced is to create the necessary infrastructure for the capacity building of Nigerians.”
The Minister reaffirmed Federal Government’s commitment towards initiating various programmes targeted at not only improving the lot of the poverty-stricken in the country but also address other numerous social problems bedeviling the country, particularly in the north.
She said, “any attempt at reducing poverty and unemployment will not be very successful without deliberate effort at providing people with the opportunity for skills acquisition and capacity building.
“Therefore, the completion of this office complex and several other projects by the Fund in other states is a major way to bring the Federal Government’s plan of tackling poverty and unemployment to reality.
“ It is therefore expected that this office complex will boost the output of the staff of the area office and make the activities of the ITF more visible and impactful in Katsina State.”
Earlier in his remarks, the ITF Director-General, Sir Joseph Ari, described the office as comprising vocational wing for training in electrical and electronics, agriculture, welding and fabrication as well as an administrative block with eight offices attached to the workshops.
According to him, “the accomplishment of this project demonstrates our commitment to addressing critical infrastructural deficits at the ITF and in keeping with President Muhammadu Buhari’s ideals to ensure prudence in the management of public funds and value for money considering the huge investment in the project.”