NOT fewer than 52 students, selected from schools across the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja, have benefited from the vocational training scheme powered by the Nigerian Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC).
The two-week skills empowerment training programme tagged: “NTDC Maiden Skill Acquisition and Empowerment Programme” for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) youths and women, was flagged-off by the Acting Director-General of the Corporation, Mrs. Mariel Rae-Omoh.
According to Rae-Omoh, the skills lined up for the empowerment programme are; bead making, tye and dye, furniture making, local weaving, hair dressing, hat making, soap and Izal making, Gele tying, and catering services.
The flag-off, which took place at Tourism Village in the corporation’s head office, Abuja, had in attendance a representative of the Minister of Information, Culture and Tourism, Mrs. Patricia Narai, all the Culture and Tourism parastatals under the Ministry of Information and Culture.
While declaring the programme open, the acting NTDC boss said the initiative was aimed at facilitating and providing small scale tourism enterprises opportunities to grow and for employment generation.
She said, “NTDC has keyed into the change agenda of the present government, especially that diversification light is being beamed on the Tourism Industry.
“This programme provides an opportunity for youth, women or the unemployed to be empowered for self-reliance. Note that tourism sector is Nigeria’s hidden treasure as it provides huge and endless opportunities to earn income through small scale business enterprises.”
She further said that in spite of the challenges the Corporation is facing with regards to the weak legal framework, “NTDC is determined to take the industry to the next level”.
She said, “The Corporation will continue to play its role as the promoter, facilitator and coordinator of all Tourism and Hospitality establishments in the country. In our role as a unifier therefore, we shall be creating the enabling environment for tourism activities to thrive in Nigeria.”
Rae-Omoh sought for the supports of sister agencies to ensure tourism in Nigeria takes its rightful place. She said, “Now that the country is face-to-face with dwindling oil revenue, the urgency of the looking elsewhere cannot be over-emphasized and tourism sector provides a preferred option. The sector, therefore requires a strong and concerted political will to the sector together for a streamlined focus that would produce the right result.”
Mr. Tomi Akingbogun, President of the Federation of Tourism Association of Nigeria (FTAN), on his part revealed that the importance of skills acquisition in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized.
According to him, “it is imperative to diversify our economy, and as well encourage, the youth to embrace self-employment through skills acquisition, entrepreneurship, self-reliance and financial empowerment”, while encouraging the participants to be serious with the programme.
The FTAN boss commended NTDC management for the programme and urged the Corporation to ensure its sustainability.
One of the beneficiaries of the empowerment programme, Habib Salitu, who benefitted from the training on furniture-making, expressed his appreciation to the leadership of NTDC for coming up with the initiative.
According to him, “I want to use the opportunity to change my life and I will put my best in the training. He added that after the training, he will endeavor to train and empower other people.”