WorldStage Newsonline-- Africa’s richest man and President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has confessed that he is not comfortable with the high rate of unemployment in Nigeria as it used to keep him awake at night.
In his respond to a question from a woman entrepreneur in a team of business executives from Lagos Business School (LBS), who visited his multi-billion dollars refinery and petrochemical projects in Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, on Saturday, Dangote said: “What keeps me awake at night is not really the enormity of business ideas running through my mind, but it is actually high rate of unemployment in the country. It is an eyesore and I think we have collective responsibility to solve this problem.”
He said said the nation’s growing population should have been a blessing if the youth energy could be harnessed to drive growth, but he regretted that poverty grew with the population.
“The more poverty that you have in a society without education, the more criminals you breed. It is surprising that poverty grows in this country as population grows, especially in the North where you have low income families bearing score of children they cannot cater for,” he said.
Dangote said it was not the duty of the government to create jobs, stressing that creation of enabling environment for entrepreneurs to thrive should be the focus of any government.
He said developed economies were not created by the government, but private sector, which he described as drivers of growth and development.
He linked insurgency and militancy to unemployment, saying criminality would fester in a society where government does not encourage entrepreneurs to create jobs.
Dangote said joblessness was the reason for the recent ultimatum issued by the Arewa youths to Igbo traders to leave the North.
“Some guys who have no relevance and values came out to issue a warning that Igbo should leave the North. I am surprised everybody started talking about this nonsense. Why are we talking about it? Obviously, in a place where there is a lot of joblessness, it is expected that this kind of jobless people would come out with all sorts of anger. We understand the reasons why they are angry, but they cannot justify their action when they have decided not to work. They only issue senseless warning to keep themselves relevant,” he said
He said said the project refinery project would create thousands of direct jobs for the youth, while millions of indirect jobs would be generated in the value chain.