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Sabiman Initiative: A big move to cut unemployment

Nigeria’s population growth without corresponding economic growth is a concern. At 33.3 %, unemployment is equally growing, a development that has threatened security. It is with this understanding that GOtv Sabiman initiative creates more jobs among young people is much-admired. Daniel Obi assesses the initiative.

Frankline Anaele from Imo State is a Petroleum Engineer who graduated from Federal University of Technology Owerri, FUTO. Since graduation in 2018, he has practically been without a stable job as some of the employment he secured lasted only a few months.

Frustrated at home, Frankline who briefly worked with a digital payment platform before Covid-19 business disruptions, was early this year, introduced to GOtv Sabiman scheme by a friend. The scheme, established in 2016 provides willing young Nigerians with technical training that enables them resolve various issues related to GOtv service.

After the one-month training, the Sabiman agents go door-to-door in their assigned neighborhoods to resolve issues of connection and assist subscribers to renew their subscription through e-payment platforms. The agents earn commission monthly from both GOtv and the e-payment platform on the number of customers they service.

Read also: Jobberman Nigeria is using AI to help employers hire better

For Frankline, he was determined to make good use of the opportunity. Though the first one week of canvassing for customers was rough for him as some customers who were skeptical of his mission were not friendly but he was ready to create a living from it. Today, Frankline who is based in Owerri makes about N50,000 monthly and according to him, “this is better than staying at home without a job”.

Frankline is not alone in this scheme. The scheme currently employs 8,000 young people in various parts of the country, according to MultiChoice, the parent company of DStv and GOtv Nigeria.

Emeka Obilor, a Political Science degree and Master’s degree holder in International Relations from University of Nigeria Nsukka is another GOtv Sabiman agent based in Enugu State.

“The job has really helped me. It is a kind of extra income for me. I have been looking for another income to assist me in paying my rent and electricity bills. My rent is N25,000 a month in Trans Ekulu, Enugu”, Obilor, who is also involved in connecting prison inmates with lawyers, told BusinessDay in an interview.

Emeka Obilor who joined the programme in 2019 further explained that the commission depends on the amount the customers are paying. “For instance, the Max package is N3,600 and I get a moderate commission on this. The higher the package, the higher my percentage as commission”. He said there are agents making up to N80,000 a month and this depends on the city where the agent is located.

The beauty of the scheme is that when subscribers trust an agent, the business relationship becomes permanent. “The subscribers will now begin to call you to recharge their subscription and they will send money to your account”, Obilor said.

Primarily, MultiChoice is not only growing its business through the scheme but empowering young Nigerians to make them contributors to the economic and social well-being of the country and lifting many out of poverty. Nigeria is said to be the poverty capital of the world with over 87 million Nigerians in poverty.

More importantly, Frankline and Emeka’s determination to succeed in the scheme was informed by the growing unemployment in Nigeria. Out of the country’s 211 million population, 33 percent, representing 72 million are without jobs with its consequences on security. Statistics reveal that in Nigeria, there are about 25 million unemployed graduates.

The growing unemployment is worrisome and triggers a headache to both the government and the private sector, especially when viewed against the background of growing population. At Independence in 1960, the country’s population was 45 million and within 60 years it has grown to 211 million representing over 350 percent growth. The population is projected to stand at 400m in the next 29 years.

The agents have endorsed the initiative where N162 million has since been invested since inception as a good employment strategy opportunity for Nigerians.

Closely related to the Sabiman Scheme is the GOtv Canvasser scheme through which young people are provided basic marketing skills to enable them make GOtv products more accessible to subscribers. Another social-economic empowerment initiative is the “Moms and Pops”, which takes just a little capital requirement from participants to be GOtv sales agents.

“At the top of the empowerment pyramid are about 9,000 dealers, who operate the GOtv distribution network and develop local businesses as agents. Many of these started out as installers, who received intensive training in customer relations/sales, which imbued them with skills required in other ventures. They regularly move up the value chain, setting up businesses that employ other young Nigerians, who provide technical support to subscribers.

One of the major issues in Nigeria today is job creation because of its centrality to security and economic growth. It reduces poverty, reduces unemployment and boosts tax generation. It is therefore important to applaud GOtv Nigeria for this job creation initiative and implore other organizations to emulate similar ideas.

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