HOUSE COMMITTEE ON INDUSTRY INVESTIGATES SIWES FUND
The house committee on Industry held an investigative hearing on the utilization of fund meant for the students industrial work experience scheme(SIWES) by the Industrial training fund (ITF) from 2010- 2017 today on the floor of National Assembly.
In his remark, the Chairman of d Committee, Àbubakar Hussaini Moriki stated that d hearing is sequel to a resolution on the floor of the house over delayed SIWES funds transfer which has resulted in the non payment of SIWES money to beneficial undergraduates and also alleged sharp practices by ITF hence the need for the investigative hearing.
Moriki noted that the SIWES is a programme to bridge the gap between students of certain disciplines to practicalise the theoretical aspects of their courses so as to fit into the public and private sectors. He further disclosed that the hearing main focus is to what extent is the management of the scheme by ITF, are the funds mismanaged over the years?, and if ITF should still be the appropriate agency to manage these funds. Then recommendation to strengthen, improve and strategically position ITF to serve better.
On his part,Joseph ARII,Director General ITF gave a historic background of the management of ITF from 1971 till date. He stated that shortfalls in the scheme is attributed to delay in the release of funds by FG, wrong account details by students and BVN bank issues. However,he gave an outline of amount paid and amount released from 2010-2017 to the tune of 3.3billion naira. Also he debunked allegations of sharp practices by ITF reiterating that ITF has a very transparent accounting system so no room for sharp practices. He cleared the misconceptions of stakeholders that not all courses are qualified for SIWES as some tertiary institutions are clamouring only engineering courses and technical related courses. He recommended that the ITF should have increased funding, effective collaboration amongst multinationals and telecommunication companies.
During the question and answer session, it was established that the rejection and discrimination of students with certain courses should not occur, increase in number of institutions and students has made the scheme cumbersome.
Finally Moriki observed the conspicuous absent of students while promising that the committee through legislation will enhance funding as well as review the allowance of students and supervisors upward. He wished all safe trip to their various destinations.