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Manufacturer urges Nigerian government to bridge youth skill gap



Manufacturer urges Nigerian government to bridge youth skill gap

A Swiss packaging machinery manufacturer, Bobst Group has advised the Federal Government of Nigeria to invest in youth capacity development for sustainable economic growth.

Samir Khoudja, the company’s Managing Director for Middle-East and Africa, told the News Agency of Nigeria in Lagos that capacity building for the country’s teeming young population could attract more investors into the country.

According to him, bridging the skill gap in Nigeria would reduce unemployment rate, advance industrialisation, boost productivity and overall development in the country.

“For impactful foreign investment in Nigeria, government has to invest in approaches that will have long-term development effects on the economy.

“Many international consumer goods companies have acknowledged the importance and the need for investment in local production and local talents for optimal performance.

“It is sad that many youths are qualified educationally, but the prerequisite skill for the job is lacking.

“At Bobst, we do train local people to work with us in all our subsidiaries.

“We cannot rely only on expatriates, we need workforce that will share the know-how, benefit from it and support our customers through it.

“Our research into the Nigerian market shows that many local brand owners are interested in improving the quality of their packaging and to do that they need good machinery, local training and expertise to improve their output,” Khoudja said.

He said Bobst would expand its presence in African market by opening an office in Lagos to enhance the support service being provided to customers in Nigeria and West-Africa.

“Most of the products produced locally are good, but majority lack quality packaging that would enhance acceptability and generate the desired export earnings from the international market.

“Nigeria has a lot of potential and human resources compared to other countries in the region.

“Despite its present economic challenges, we believe that Nigeria is the right place to invest for companies that desire growth.

“Building on our 125 years of existence and innovation, we would leverage on our expertise to build a strategic, long-term partnership that would boost the quality of Nigeria’s packaging industry,” he said.

Bobst is a Swiss company that manufactures equipment and provide technical services to the packaging and labelling industry.

The company is active in corrugated board, folding carton and flexible materials and employs over 5000 workers across its network of sales and service centres located in over 50 countries.

NAN recalls that a 2014 PCI Market research, rated Nigeria’s flexible packaging industry as second largest in Africa and estimated it at 545 million dollars.

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