Bayelsa Govt To Partner ITF in Training, Agric Development, Appeals for Review of Funding Arrangement

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Aherhoke Okioma,Yenagoa

Bayelsa State Government has indicated its readiness to partner with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF) in the area of training to promote self-reliance, agriculture, and career development.

The state Deputy Governor, Senator Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo gave the indication on Tuesday when a delegation of ITF from the Bayelsa Area Office paid him a courtesy visit in Government House, Yenagoa.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo, in a statement by his media aide, Mr. Doubara Atasi, noted that ITF’s mandate is in line with the Prosperity Administration’s determination to empower as many Bayelsans as possible with requisite skills for both personal and state economic growth.

The Deputy Governor, who underscored the government’s interest in agricultural development, tasked the Commissioner in charge of the ministry and his counterparts in other relevant ministries to engage the ITF to come up with practical areas of collaboration.

Describing the visit as apt and timely, Senator Ewhrudjakpo expressed optimism that both parties will benefit from the proposed collaboration.

The state number two man decried the situation whereby the ITF does not get direct funding from the Federal Government and called for a change to enable the Agency to discharge its responsibility effectively.

Senator Ewhrudjakpo said given the challenges of inadequate resources facing Bayelsa, the state government would not be able to completely fund the operations of ITF in the state.

He also frowned at the categorization of the ITF offices based on the number of training done, saying it puts the state office in a disadvantaged position and therefore called for a review.

According to the Deputy Governor, an increase in support from the Federal Government will enable the Agency and the state to achieve more in various areas of collaboration.

His words: “We are really interested in agricultural skill acquisition, that is why the Commissioner for agric is here because we are looking for agencies that can help our people acquire skills and encourage them to be engaged in meaningful ventures.

“That we run a Prosperity Government does not mean we will come out to the streets and start throwing money at the people. We are not going to give anybody money that way because we believe that it is only when you work, you will value what you get.”

“Your visit is quite timely and apt. We will see what we can do to help you. We also expect that you will reciprocate. But let me say (again) that I’m not pleased with your funding arrangement. It is like a parent who gives birth and tells the child to fend for him or herself.

“Also, the categorization of ITF according to the number of training already done is not acceptable by us. It simply means Lagos and other big states with stronger financial muscle, which were actually developed with oil wealth from the Niger Delta will be more favoured since they have the resources to fund more training.”

Earlier, the Bayelsa Area Manager of the Industrial Training Fund, Mrs. Stella Titilola-Baiyere had stated that they were in the Deputy Governor’s office to seek areas of partnership with the state government.

She stated that the agency has the requisite personnel and expertise to train Bayelsans in virtually every area of human endeavour and urged the state government to take advantage of the available opportunities to improve a lot of the people.

Mrs. Baiyere, who lauded the present administration for its strides within a year in the office especially in its efforts to give the state capital a facelift, called for sustenance and improvement.

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