Friday, 14 February 2014

ANOTHER ARMY OF GRADUATES LAUNCHED INTO THE LABOUR MARKET: WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

It is indeed a national service. A whole year of solemn pledge to serve a fatherland that has failed to father these army of young graduates by providing them with the opportunities that they deserve for a national service well done.

Another set of graduates have been launched into the national labour market which has been so weak in supporting the increasing number of graduates it welcomes in February, June and September of every year. Imagine the number of graduates that the national labour market has to cater for. Where are the jobs for this periodic army of graduates? Which sectors are hiring? Which industries are hiring? Which companies/organizations are hiring? How open and reliable is the process of possible hirings?

Sectors Hiring
You cannot get any information about hiring in the various sectors of the economy. Between 2004-2008, the financial and the telecommunications were priority sectors, hiring young graduates. But today, we cannot say which of the sectors are hiring young graduates.

Industry Hiring
Information about industries hiring young graduates in the country are scarce available. You can hardly find any. Newspaper publications of vacancies do not provide us with a clue on where to look out for jobs. No government agencies responsible for labour, youth development and socio-economic development can give us any information about hiring in any of the industries.

Company Hiring
It is strictly an insider thing today. And due to factors such as tribalism, nepotism and others, it is unlikely for graduates to know about job openings in any companies without the help of insiders.

When there is no access to information about activities in the labour market, cutting across the various sectors, industries and companies/organizations of the country, it becomes very difficult for young graduates to find jobs even when they are available.

What do you think should best be done and who should take the lead? My most sincere suggestion is that governments, federal, state and local, should take the lead by setting up Offices of Employment across the country. And these offices should be given the responsibility to gather information about job availability in their localities and outside. Setting up such offices alone can create job opportunities for young graduates that are likely to be hired to do the work required therein. Imagine that every political district in the country has an Office of Employment with at least 2-10 staff. Answer for yourself.

Nigeria has the potential to create job opportunities for all Nigerians, educated and uneducated. You may ask how? Through effective and efficient national policies and legislation targeted at each sector of our national economy, the governments can create jobs for ALL NIGERIANS. I mean ALL NIGERIANS.

You can follow me as I unveil the potentials of all sectors of our economy to create decent and sustainable jobs for young graduates and all Nigerians in a series I wish to call, "JOB CREATION: THE POTENTIALS OF THE NIGERIAN ECONOMIC SECTORS, if the government will initiate "Effective and Efficient National Policies and establish enforceable Legislation.

Just follow me. You can leave a comment behind. Share this page with your friends as we share our knowledge on the possible solutions to difficult challenges facing our nation, Nigeria.


















Thursday, 13 February 2014

TINAPA: ANOTHER WHITE ELEPHANT PROJECT?

Cynics may be proven right as the Tinapa Business Resort Limited (TBRL) is fast becoming nothing less than a "white elephant project".

The "Africa's Premier Resort", as it is popularly referred to, is crawling under the weight of some N18 billion debt and many other problems that were never envisaged by the initiators of the project.

Could it be true that the initiators never saw the challenges that are now threatening the existence of this colossal project that is costing the Cross River State government the sum of N100 million monthly to keep alive? But it was obvious from the speak of the former Governor, Donald Duke, during a two-day retreat held a month after the commissioning of the project in April 2007 by President Olusegun Obasanjo, that Tinapa will face some post-construction challenges which I want to believe were known, but overlooked, before the commencement of the project.And I want to quickly say that these are more than a post-construction problems. They are live threaten, and if nothing is done now, Tinapa may soon a "ghost resort".

What are these problems, you may ask? They are mirage. They are both political and economic.

1. The Attitude of the Federal Government and its Agencies
Could it be that the Federal Government, under the leadership of the former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, did not approve the project? Were the Federal Agencies of Customs and Immigration not aware of the project? All that have been reported and published by the media on this issue indicated a clear disapproval by the project by the former (and maybe, present) administration. On Channels TV, the Governor of Cross River State, in a broadcast which was posted on November 15, 2013, stated that Tinapa's challenges included "the regulations and management of free trade zones", imposition of customs duties on traders, lack of a functional seaport. These are problems, he said, were beyond the control of the state. Simply put, these are problems associated with the Federal Government and its various agencies. And can only be dealt with by the Federal Government. But what is the present administration doing?

2. Debt
Tinapa cannot fund itself. AMCON may save it through a privatization exercise, but how well the new management will manage Tinapa, only time will tell. And I am doubtful of the process and the possibility  of undervaluation of the business.

3. Lack of Standard Roads
The African Premier Resort is also threatened by the lack of road infrastructures leading to the state. Roads that were constructed by the Federal Government are in deplorable conditions needing urgent repairs. And the FG is not doing anything to fix them.

3. Poor Location
Tinapa may be suitable for hotels and resorts businesses, but not other retail businesses. And since there are less traffic of persons and low economic activities within the area, retailers may find it difficult to keep their shops open.

Should the nonchalant attitude of the Federal Government and its agencies persist, Tinapa will definitely become a "White Elephant Project" as some cynics decried.

For the location and retail businesses, the management of Tinapa may consider initiating programs that will keep people coming into the area. What type of programs would improve the influx of people into Tinapa?

I would like your comments, please.


Monday, 3 February 2014

BEST SALES STRATEGY AMONG RETAILERS IN NIGERIA: THE USE OF GIFT PROMOS

Customers are the mainstay of an profitable business world over. Without customers, especially loyal ones, there is no profitable business. No wonder business organizations are striving through all possible, legal means to recruit customers, and maybe, retain them.

I have been keenly observing the behaviours of retailers in Nigeria and have discovered a common practice among them when it comes prospecting customers. The best sales strategy they cheaply adopt is the use of promo where cars and other items are showcased as gifts for the customers who will buy certain amount of their products and services. It is a wide spread sales strategy which leaves me with the doubt that we are making real progress business in this 21st century. It shows that we lack innovative ideas and strategies in virtually all aspects of our businesses. Retailers in the country are infested with the copycat syndrome. If we all do the same thing when it comes to prospecting customers, how am I sure those customers will abide? What will keep them? Nothing!!! And this is because such sales strategy only develop in prospects the capacity to flirt. They move from one retailer to another seeking opportunities to win the said prizes for some given purchases without any intention to remain loyal customers. Indeed, they can never be loyal customers. Prospects are now converted to lottery players by retailers in Nigeria in the bid to get them to buy their products and services.

Are there no other sales strategies that they can adopt in their prospecting?

Of course, there are many better and more powerful sales strategies that retailers in Nigeria can adopt in order to increase and retain their prospective customers. And most of these sales strategies are cost-effective and manageable. They carry with them some sense of equity. Customers are not made to compete for any "grand" or "consolation" prizes. Some of these sales strategies include: sales coupons, discounted prizes, bundle sales, and others.

World class retail brands use sales coupons, discounted prizes and bundle sales to recruit and retain loyal customers for their products and services. They are fair, less expensive to implement, and prospects do not see themselves as competitors or bidders. These are sales strategies that are always mostly adopted by successful retailers across the globe today. They hardly fail in delivering expected sales objective.

How I wish retailers in Nigeria will learn and seek to adopt these success-proven sales strategies today?

If you are an entrepreneur or business owner with the desire to increase your customer base and to make your customers loyal customers, and you do not know how to do so, please contact me. I am obliged to help you achieve that. Use the comment box to reach me.

Saturday, 1 February 2014

PRICED ABOVE FACE VALUE: MTN AND ITS RECHARGE CARD VENDORS

Within the Christmas holidays, there was a sudden hike in the prices of recharge card vouchers across all telecommunication networks, and one wondered what was the cause of the price jerk. It was surprising to learn from a vendor in a remote part of the country that the season and period was responsible for the increase in the prices above the face values of the recharge cards.

Now that the Christmas season has come and gone, why are the prices, especially that of MTN recharge cards/vouchers, still unchanged? We expected that the initial hike should go with the season, but in many parts of the country, the prices are still above their face values of N100, N200, N400, N750 and N1,500 (now N110, N220, N430, N780 and N1,550).

What are really the causes of these differences in retail pricing? The vendors in defense of their decision  to sell at rates above the face values of the vouchers blamed MTN recharge card dealers for selling to them above the prices they were buying before, and that there has been a decrease in the supply of the vouchers. MTN, in response to the issue has exonerated itself from being responsible for the hike of their credit voucher rates above their face values.

Who do you think should be blamed? MTN, of course.

MTN should find out and learn from Coca-Cola's experience in 2011 when the latter was confronted by a sharp fall in the demand and sales of its 35cl bottled products due to hike in the prices of the products above their official retail face values. Much was expended on campaigns by Coca-Cola bottling company to ensure that its customers and consumers were aware of the supposed retail prices and to insist on paying them. I do not think much was achieved by Coca-Cola throughout the campaign and the products still sell far above their official retail values.

It is obvious that Coca-Cola has lost a good share of its market to other soft drink products in the country since 2011 due to this problem. And it is possible that Coca-Cola is no longer the price leader in the soft drink industry in Nigeria any more. Same may become of MTN Telecommunications in Nigeria, if it fails to hurt the situation now.

How I wish I could suggest a way out of this problem. A plan to sell credit vouchers directly to MTN subscribers via ATM may not solve the problem since over 70% percent of its subscribers are still outside the banking system. And if it (MTN) may decide to set up official kiosks across the country in order to sell directly to customers, it may not still solve the problem. May be it should reduce the official rate of each voucher to allow dealers/distributors and retailers some encouraging profit margin. This, I think, may be the perfect solution to this problem. Or what do you think?