As of December 19, 2018, there were 20.9 million people who did nothing at all or worked under 20 hours a week.
This is according to a report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) which shows that the unemployment rate has increased from 17.6 million (18.8%) in Q3 2017 to 20.9 million (23.1%) in Q3, 2018.
This huge spike in only nine months makes unemployment is one of Nigeria’s biggest challenges.
The Dangote Group, a multinational conglomerate founded by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote,has announced its plan to tackle this particular problem.
Devakumar VG Edwin, the company’s Executive Director, Strategy, Capital Project and Portfolio Development made the announcement at the second edition of the Agribusiness Summit in Abuja.
According to him, the Group will be tackling unemployment by upping its investments in the agricultural sector. He explained that agriculture appears to be the most viable solution, adding that huge investments from the company should improve Nigeria’s economy.
In his words, “Agriculture employs 37 per cent of the population. This is against the backdrop of a 23 per cent unemployment rate in the country. The time is rife to put the agricultural sector in the front burner, more so that Nigeria’s ever-growing population is projected to hit 440million by the year 2050.”
Revealing the Group’s strategy, Edwin stated that his conglomerate will be investing in rice, tomato paste, sugar, dairy products and oilseeds.
To achieve its purpose, the company is constructing a state of the art storage silos for a total capacity of one million tons of paddy. He also disclosed plans to construct a 3 million tons fertilizer plant and have 40,000 hectares to produce sugar.
“There is an ongoing investment in 15,000 hectares to produce and process tomato paste of 150,000 tons per year. The current import is 0.5million tons per year,” he added.
The Dangote Group executive concluded by calling on Nigerians to “support the agricultural drive by the Dangote Group which is in line with government policy and the yearnings of the people.”