Chris Steven, Abuja
All is not well financially with the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), as the agency has been unable to pay Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES) supervisory and students’ allowances running into billions of naira.
Joseph Ari, director general of ITF disclosed this on Friday when the Senate Committee visited the Headquarters of the Fund in Jos.
Ari said, “One area we plead with the National Assembly to assist is in appropriations for the Students Industrial Work Experience Scheme (SIWES).
“As you may be aware, the ITF is vested with management of the scheme. Funding for same, however, is the sole responsibility of federal government.
“Unfortunately, whereas participation in the Scheme has soared due to increased licensing of tertiary institutions and disciplines accredited for the scheme, appropriations for allowances of Supervisors and Students have not reflected such exponential increases leading to a situation where ITF is owing billions as unpaid SIWES supervisory and students allowances”, he lamented.
He appealed to the National Assembly to use its good offices to reverse this trend in order to avert rampant picketing and harassment of ITF staff across the country.”
Speaking, Sam Egwu, Chairman of the Committee, said, “The purpose of this oversight visit is to conduct an assessment on the level of judicious budgetary implementation by the Fund, particularly the 2016 approved appropriation.
Egwu maintained that, “Further to this we demand to check the level of compliance with the extact Act of the Fund (2011 As Amended).
He assured that the Committee will randomly visit the agency’s State Area offices and Training Centres, before the year runs out, as a prelude to the 2018 budget defense, to identify areas that require more attention.