Unemployment in Nigeria is a growing concern that stems from the country's many political and economic issues. Though very rich in natural resources like oil, this industry is actually causing more harm since the country has not diversified its economy.
The country's unemployment rate as of the end of 2020 rose to 33.3 per cent from 27.1 per cent recorded as of Q2 2020, indicating that about 23.2 million Nigerians remain unemployed. This is according to the recently released labour force report published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).
Under-employment rate in the reference period however dropped from 28.6 per cent recorded as at the second quarter 2020 to 22.8 per cent in Q4 2020.
The increase in the unemployment rate figures can be attributed to the after-effect of the COVID-19 induced lockdown which caused my organisations to reduce their work force as a means to cope amidst the pandemic.
Although businesses have resumed operations, they are yet to fully recover to pre-pandemic levels, indicating that some of these laid-off workers are still without work and 1.42 million others joined the group of unemployed in Q4, 2020.
Meanwhile, top entrepreneurs have been urged to focus on job creation for the teeming unemployed youths as a way to ensure economic prosperity and poverty reduction in the country. To this end, Dangote Group, through its cement subsidiary, has been creating jobs in African countries.
Last week, the West African Student's Union (WASU) commended the aggressive employment generation drive of the Aliko Dangote led companies, urging other wealthy West African leaders to invest in industries that will rid the region of high unemployment rate.
President of WASU, Comrade Romans Pillah in a press briefing, held in Abuja, described Aliko Dangote as God-sent, to the African continent and lauded him for employing more than 200,000 Youths in his companies.
"As students, we are mostly scared of our future because of the high unemployment rate in our region, but with a man like Aliko Dangote, we are optimistic and only prayed for more Africans like him so as to totally eliminate the high scourge of unemployment in our continent as a whole," he said.
He further commended the doggedness and commitment of the Dangote group to the industrialization of the West African sub-region. According to him, WASU wishes to appreciate the Dangote Group on their corporate social responsibility via scholarship, youth empowerment and building of enduring infrastructure.
Earlier in Lagos, WASU President, with his executive members had presented an award to Dangote group as the 'Most Outstanding Company in Africa', noting that there is no other company in the continent that is rapidly expanding across all African countries and employing thousands of youths in their respective locations, as much as the Group.
Dangote's Group executive director, Strategy, Capital Projects & Portfolio Development, Devakumar Edwin, who was also given an award by the students' body as an "Icon of Outstanding Visionary Leadership in Africa", assured them of the group's determination to create millions of employments across the continent.
Edwin said Aliko Dangote's desire is to ensure that all able youth are gainfully employed and also that he is working towards that by building his factories across the continent, saying that, "I thank you so much for honouring Dangote Group on the basis of employment generation and my humbled self for my personal contribution to the growth and development of the company. We will not rest on our oars, we are building more factories across Africa and we will join hands with the government to ensure that all abled youth are gainfully employed, in line with our President's desire."
In 2020, Edwin, said that the Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals has the potential to turn around Nigeria's economy with the creation of thousands of direct and indirect jobs.
He said the huge youth unemployment rate and the need to make the country self-reliant in fuel consumption were the major reasons that motivated the President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, to venture into manufacturing.
According to him, Dangote Industries Limited has succeeded in substantially reducing the high rate of unemployment in the country, with the conglomerate already recruiting youths in its various agricultural schemes and its other subsidiaries. He said Dangote Industries is the highest employer of labour outside the federal government.
Dangote business in the country and outside has contributed to changes in the level of development in the country
This can be seen in the various investment Dangote Group is into as it continued to drive the economic development of the country.
The Dangote Group is a Nigerian multinational industrial conglomerate, founded by Aliko Dangote. It is the largest conglomerate in West Africa and one of the largest on the African continent. The Group is the largest employer of labour in Nigeria, outside the federal government, and when the upcoming oil refinery project is completed, the company will have more than 100,000 Nigerians under its employment, according to local industry commentators.
The company was founded in 1981 as a trading enterprise, importing sugar, cement, rice, fisheries and other consumer goods for distribution in the Nigeria market. The group moved into manufacturing in the 1990s, now owns and operates over 18 subsidiaries, Dangote Cement, the largest cement production company in Africa, with a market capitalization of almost N3.664 trillion as at March 31, 2020 on the Nigeria Exchange (NGX) Limited, Dangote Sugar is another major subsidiary of Dangote, Dangote Flour Mills, NASCON Allied Industries, Dangote Refinery, among others.
The Dangote Refinery, when in operation, will be Nigeria's first private and Africa's largest petroleum refinery, with the expectation of a daily production capacity of 650,000 barrels per day. Based on projection, the project is expected to generate 9,500 direct and 25,000 indirect jobs for Nigerians and foreign experts.