TRALAC - Trade Law Centre

Nigeria: NEPC strategises to bridge skills gap, participation in AGOA

Wednesday, 23 November 2016 Published: | Kingsley Jeremiah

Source: Guardian (Nigeria)

In a move to bridge skills gap and aid Nigeria’s participation in the extended African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA), Executive Director of Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Olusegun Awolowo said the agency will continue its effort in ensuring that the nation’s skills deficit, particularly in fashion designing is addressed.

Awolowo, who lamented that inadequate skills development was hampering economic growth in the country said that the agency has trained 75 candidates in fashion designing.

AGOA, a legislation signed by U.S. Congress in May 2000 was designed to assist economies of sub-Saharan Africa and improve economic relations between the United States and the region.

The treaty, which after completing its initial 15-year period of validity, was extended on 29 June 2015 by a further 10 years, to 2025 would receive a bolster, as the commission would assist in fixing skills deficit, Awolowo said at the graduation ceremony of the candidate in Lagos.

He said: “We need to bridge skills deficit in Nigeria. Everywhere you go there are jobs but there are no skills to meet up with it. This also is the situation in the fashion industry.

“Our main goal is to promote fashion design. But the most important thing first is to scale up production by increasing capacity and that is where we are right now.”

Awolowo disclosed that 25 of the trained candidates were given automatic employment through a Public-Private Partnership programme.

He stressed on the need for production hubs that would enable the country to meet up with demand and compete globally.

“Currently there are not enough hubs where shirts of high quality and quantity can be made. Until we start building production hubs where we can manufacture these things in big quantity and quality, we may not be able to compete internationally,” Awolowo said.

He further said the council would work harder to revamp the cotton industry to complement other sectors.Founder and Artistic Director of Style House, Omoyemi Akerele said the fashion industry lack capacity to meet demand, adding that effort must be strengthened to make the fashion sector lead government’s non oil revenue initiative.

Akerele urged Nigerians must help in building the sector and find a way to retain the country’s huge import of fashion products.

Managing Director, Crown Natures Nigeria Plc, Omolara Aromolaran said lack of factories and unavailable skills have incapacitated the sector from meeting local demand.She said investors in the sector must harness the huge opportunity to enable the country to build a sustainable industry.

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