Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company (NMRC), Nigeria’s secondary mortgage market company set up to provide liquidity in both mortgage and housing markets, has set out to tackle the manpower challenge in the country’s building industry.
Besides land and finance, trained manpower and skilled labour is a major challenge in Nigeria’s construction and building industry. The problem is such that the industry is almost taken over by professionals and artisans from outside the country.
Skilled tilers, masons, plumbers, carpenters, electrical installations and sundry technicians are hard to source locally, hence the NMRC intervention with a Vocational Skills Acquisition Programme at the New Kuchingoro IDP Camp, Kaura District, Abuja. The company says the intervention is in fulfilment of its corporate social responsibility (CSR).
The two months training programme, which is coordinated by the Industrial Training Fund (ITF), is focused on skill acquisition in the area of masonry (block making/laying), plumbing, and electrical installation.
Chii Akporji, an executive director at NMRC, explained at the flag-off of the programme that the role of NMRC was to promote mortgage by releasing money to banks to give out to mortgage seekers. She noted that lack of skills was a major challenge facing housing in Nigeria, insisting that the high incidence of building collapse could be traced to the lack of skilled labour in the building industry.
“The goal of this training programme is to eventually build a network of NMRC artisans. This training platform will serve as a channel for job placement for the artisans. The inaugural set of trainees will not be less than 45 while the subsequent ones will be more than the present number,” Akporji assured.
Also speaking at the training programme, Joseph Ari, the Director General, ITF, who was represented by the Area Manager, ITF, Usman Dadi, commended NMRC for bringing the ITF on board to coordinate the programme.
According to him, the ITF was the only medium of government for job and wealth creation. He highlighted current efforts by ITF, noting that through the Women Skills Empowerment Programme, ITF has trained 30 women in Event Management and Bakery. He added that the organization has employed the use of six mobile workshops.
The area manager disclosed further that ITF also undertakes training in the construction industry to ensure the industry is free of building collapse. He added that the Fund, through this, has trained many artisans.
Philemon Emmanuel, the IDP camp chairman, who represented the trainees, also commended NMRC for bringing the skills acquisition programme to the Camp.
Lynette Johnson, the camp coordinator, programme trainees/beneficiaries, joined his colleagues in commending NMRC for the programme adding that it was much needed to ensure job creation for the members of the IDP camp.