AFIT, NASENA to produce first made-in-Nigeria helicopter

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The Nigeria Air Force (NAF), in partnership with the National Agency for Science and Engineering, has finalized arrangements to produce the first Made-in-Nigeria helicopter. It is speculated that the new helicopter would be launched before the end of President Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure next year.

Already, the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) and NASENI have been directed by the Presidency to ensure that the manufacture of the helicopter materializes in good time.

AFIT and NASENI have both taken up the challenge to complete works on the helicopter initiated by NASENI, which Buhari had directed should be launched before the end of his administration in 2023.

 To fast-track works on the project, the President directed its relocation from NASENI’s site in Abuja to AFIT in Kaduna, Kaduna State. 

ITF puts Nigeria’s labour force at 69m

The Director-General, Industrial Training Fund (ITF), Joseph Ari has said that almost 15.7 per cent of  hard-to-fill vacancies are ascribed to lack of basic and advanced skills. Ari, who stated this during Nigeria Employers’ Summit, spoke on the theme: ‘The Private Sector an Engine for National Development’ in Abuja.

He said the labour force stands at 69 million from the working population, representing 57%.  Of the 69 million Labour Force, 29 million are youths (aged 15-34) years, representing 43% of the Labour Force.

He said from the Labour Force (69 million), 44% are fully employed (30 million), 33% are unemployed (23 million) and 23% are underemployed (16 million). These were figures from Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in 2020. 

Joseph Ari


Ari noted that the ITF-UNIDO Skills Gap Assessment Report, 2017, stated that the working population who are (15 – 64 years are able and willing to work) is estimated to be 122 million out of which 56% (68 million) are youth (15 – 34 years). 

He said the statistics may be due to skills mismatch or lack of employable skills, irregular academic calendar due to strikes, inadequate education curriculum, lack of emphasis on life skills, more of theories than practice, practical, negative societal view of vocational skills acquisition and entrepreneurship, rural-to-urban migration and lack of interest in agriculture.  

He also identified economic recession and poor infrastructure as other factors.  “When we had the assessment study on the sixth priority sectors of the economy with the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), we found out that the jobs are actually there, but we do not even have the requisite Nigerians to occupy those jobs. ITF has been at the forefront of advocating the need for including Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET) in the Nigerian educational curriculum,” he said.

He explained that the ITF had been working round the clock on students’ industrial work experience, where the gap needed to be bridged between the issue of theory and practice and the negative societal view of vocational skills or position and entrepreneurship.

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