In Nigeria, the unemployment rate currently stands at 13.3 percent. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed that about 4.58 million jobs were lost between June 2015 and June 2016, with the industrial sector bearing the largest chunk. The ripple effect is that the job market is saturated, with young job seekers jostling for employment or holding on to jobs they are overqualified or poorly paid for.Read More
CSR-in-Action, in partnership with the Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (MMSD), Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (NEITI), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and other stakeholders, is pleased to announce the 5th Sustainability in the Extractive Industries (SITEI) conference. SITEI is scheduled to hold on November 15, 2016, in Abuja for the second time in five years, and will focus on government’s commitment to the sustainable development of the oil and gas and other sectors of the Nigerian economy with strong potential for prosperity and economic growth and development; with particular emphasis on the mineral sector.
The theme for SITEI 2016 is Revitalising the Nigerian Economy Beyond Oil: Prospects for a Thriving, Export-Driven Extractive Sector. In recognition of their significant roles in the diversification of the Nigerian economy, Dr John Kayode Fayemi, Minister of Mines and Steel Development and Mrs Amina Mohammed, Minister of Environment, are scheduled to shed more light on their ministries’ plans for progressive and responsible growth and development of the nation at the conference; including the roadmap for the Ajaokuta Steel Company. SITEI 2016 is, therefore, poised to be even more significant this year with the inclusion of a diverse group of stakeholders seeking to optimise the productivity of the extractive industries to attract FDI, induce capital retention and boost the national GDP through close collaboration between federal parastatals, MIREMCOs, host communities, businesses and civil society organisations.
Speaking to the relevance of SITEI in the current economic landscape, CSR-in-Action Founder and convener of SITEI, Bekeme Masade said, “Knowing that we are officially in a recession makes the need for collaborative efforts to turn things around drastically even more glaring. It is only through an inclusive approach to innovation like SITEI provides, that we can begin to embark on cohesive efforts that will birth lasting solutions, boost productivity, increase wealth, create more jobs, and contribute to the overall wellbeing of the society.”
Working with other notable partners and sponsors like Ford Foundation, Robert Gordon University (RGU), Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Lafarge Africa, Pricewaterhouse Coopers (PwC) and Heinrich Boell Foundation, SITEI 2016 will bring together critical stakeholders from government, private sector, civil society, media and academia to engage in a series of solution-driven discussions, building on outcomes from the Stakeholders’ meeting conducted at the Honourable Minister’s Conference Room, Federal Ministry of Mines and Steel Development (FMMSD) earlier in September.
Further emphasising the impact of the SITEI conference at the Stakeholders’ meeting, Dr. Ogbonnaya Orji, conveyed NEITI’s ongoing support of CSR-in-Action’s efforts for sustainability in the sector. He said, “We are happy to support the SITEI conference because of its perfect alignment with the ministry’s efforts at revitalising the sector. I congratulate the event organiser, CSR-in-Action, for its consistency and depth in mirroring the challenges of the sector and advocating best practices in line with globally accepted Integrity and sustainability metrics.”
A conference which began in 2012 in partnership with the Deputy High Commission of Canada, CSR-in-Action continues to build on its reputation for integrity, transparency, accountability and professionalism, attracting key persons from within Nigeria and beyond. Some of the expected speakers at the event this year include: Dr Kayode Fayemi (Honourable Minister for Solid Minerals Development), Amina Mohammed (Honourable Minister for Environment), Ibe Kachikwu (Chairman of the Board, NNPC), Waziri Adio (Executive Secretary, NEITI), Alan Tousignant (Chief of the Economic Section, U.S. Embassy), Uwem Ite (External Advisor, SPDC), Tonye Cole (Group Executive Director, Sahara Group), Michel Puchercos (CEO, Lafarge Africa Plc), Prof. Stephen Vertigans (Head, School of Social Studies, University of Aberdeen, UK), Prof. Ademola Omolola (HOD, Department of Geography, UNILAG), Egghead Odewale (Special Adviser Media to Minister of Solid Minerals), Okey Onyejekwe (Senior Special Adviser to Minister of Solid Minerals), to name a few.
In Nigeria, the unemployment rate currently stands at 13.3 percent. The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) disclosed that about 4.58 million jobs were lost between June 2015 and June 2016, with the industrial sector bearing the largest chunk. The ripple effect is that the job market is saturated, with young job seekers jostling for employment or holding on to jobs they are overqualified or poorly paid for.
The situation may be dire, but applicants with rare skills will always stand a better chance of getting employment or enjoying job security while their peers struggle to play catchup. Here are some skills you may need to acquire quickly or build on in your quest for a respectable white-collar job:
MICROSOFT OFFICE TOOLS: This is arguably the most significant, yet often overlooked skill in the professional clime. It is no news that internal and external communications are premised on the proficient knowledge and use of Microsoft Office. Word, PowerPoint and Excel constitute the tripartite of formal communication (textual); hence the need to invest quality time in honing your knowledge and use of these applications. There is a good chance you would find a colleague willing to sacrifice their time to teach you how to use these tools, or you may be better off learning from YouTube videos (if you already have a job) or attending a computer class while job hunting.
FOREIGN LANGUAGES: Admit it. Sometimes you wish you could speak one or more foreign languages. If you’re a Nigerian, then you probably sometimes wish you were fluent in all three major native languages. However, while fluency in local languages may be a valuable asset in the professional clime, individuals with a high proficiency level in foreign languages (particularly French, Spanish & German) often stand a better chance of securing lucrative jobs than otherwise. To this end, you may either enroll in free online classes or channel part of your miscellaneous budget to nearby schools that teach foreign languages. Remember, being the only polyglot in your organisation could make you indispensable – provided you comply with the rules and regulations.
CREATIVE WRITING: In our thoughts, actions and words, we write every day. While some are born writers, others are creative thinkers. The ability to adequately transcribe thoughts into words and subsequently text, could be a prime determinant of how you would fare in the labour market. Start by reading short web articles and watching videos that spell out writing tips. These posts also reveal common grammatical errors and corresponding corrections. So, paying close attention to those tips could spur you on to become a better writer. Then again, you may wish to boost your writing skills by ensuring you communicate in formal English Language (text instead of shorthand) in all your social media posts. Start small and start well too.
ORAL COMMUNICATION: Not everybody has the gift of gab, but you would be doing yourself a great disservice by not learning the tenets of essential oral communication. Limit your use of pidgin English and native languages and focus on speaking plain English wherever you may find yourself. It’s a good way to start. Your choice of words, pronunciation and general communication would always stand you out in your profession. In addition, fluent use of English language automatically builds an enviable aura around you and this could be the distinct feature your employer would hold onto.
GRAPHICS/WEB DESIGN: Digitalisation has fostered the growth of business environments that communicate more with visuals than text. With a unique design or pictorial illustration, you could present an idea that would ordinarily consume several pages of bogus text. Your design may be as elementary as a PowerPoint template, email signature or even a one-page website/blog, but having presentable design skills could go a long way to prove your worth to your employer.
There are several other skills that will fast-track your quest for professional development, but starting off with these will take you places in record time. Don’t forget to share these ideas with your friends and colleagues and hear what they have to say.
- Adesegun Damazio, Brands Advisor at Zenera Consulting.
Reputation is everything-on personal and business levels. Management of brand image is central to the sustainability of a business in the long term and foremost agencies seek to uphold reputations to the highest standards. This article details the basic tools for successful reputation management.
Any organisation seeking top class reputation management must embrace keen awareness as a central goal. Attention to details distinguishes the great from the good. To ensure delivery of best services, reputation management consultancies develop strategic interest in public perceptions of their clients, particularly through the aggressive monitoring of new developments. Setting up Google alerts for a brand name is a beneficial method of keeping up to date as well as assessing any negative feedback via reviews. Keeping an eye out on the most influential social media users and their inputs on specific brands is also important. Closer attention should be paid to verified Twitter users as they have the most followers consisting of existing and potential consumers. These strategies help to proactively discover problems and offer the best solutions, while also building upon perceived strengths.
Communication is key for any successful relationship. Therefore, reputation management organisations make it a priority to engage their clients on regular basis. Leading agencies ensure there is a constant flow of direct communication between staff and clients. Clients are also encouraged to communicate directly with their consumer base as this instills trust, which in turn attracts goodwill for their brand image. Customers lodging complaints using social media or the organisation’s website should be replied promptly. This in turn ensures consumers feel more appreciated and catered to. This aids brand loyalty.
Nimbleness and Proactive Action
Nimbleness is important when dealing with feedback from the public about a client’s product. For example, a reputation management agency on realising that a company has been receiving negative reviews should have flexible strategies in place to tackle the problems efficiently. Similarly, a crisis or scandal is usually avoided when both client and reputation management agencies are well poised to maintain the good image of both companies.
Negative feedback is almost inevitable and it would be unrealistic to expect none. Therefore, being proactive not only means dealing with problems but also seeing to it that these problems are prevented from occurring in the first place. It is also important to note that not all negative feedback is a problem as it can serve as an opportunity to discover weaknesses and improve upon them. The use of survey questionnaires to measure consumer satisfaction and feedbacks from the target audience will help to gauge the reception of a particular product or service. Reputation management agencies also engage in sponsoring events for positive publicity, and actively promoting their client’s brands.
Social Media Involvement
Social media is undoubtedly one of the quickest means of communicating directly with consumers. For effective reputation management, brands are advised to have a strong social media presence. These include platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube where pertinent information and videos would be uploaded on a regular basis. This method avails the opportunity of receiving direct feedback as consumers are invited to share their opinions and ideas on the brands via the comment sections.
– Idegbua Higo, Media & Communications Intern at Zenera Consulting
These have been portentous times for the Nigerian oil industry. Internal politics in the creeks of the Niger-delta as well as fluctuating events on the global scene continue to influence the black gold’s fortune. Oscillating between the island of despair and the shore of hope, how do the current sectoral dynamics augur for investors’ interests in the short term projections?
The latest waves of oil platforms bombings by militancy warlords who ascribed to themselves the dreaded name of ‘Niger Delta Avengers’ has pushed Nigeria’s oil production to a 30-year low with deficits induced by production cuts reaching as much as 600,000 barrels per day. Against this backdrop, oil majors operating in Nigeria, including Shell, Agip, ExxonMobil and Chevron have all been forced to declare force majeure this current year.
From another horizon, economic slowdowns in Europe, technological breakthroughs in the United States, wild fires in Canada as well as embargo lift on Iran’s oil from January of the current year are creating fluctuating imperatives on the Nigerian oil market, albeit sometimes with twisted kind of serendipity for other players involved. America’s recent attainment of self-reliant status in oil reserves through its use of fracking technology to recover oil from erstwhile inaccessible shale, consigned generous portions of Nigeria’s crude oil to abandonment on the high seas with no home to call its own. The U.S. was formerly the biggest consumer of Nigeria’s crude oil and its emergent self-sustenance in oil and gas therefore translated to loss of a key market for the latter. Crashes in global oil prices has been another result that arose from fracking-induced over-supply of the commodity.
While wild fires in Canada affects output from one of the world’s largest producers of crude oil, helping to push up prices marginally, slowed-down economic activities in Europe and ban-lift on Iran oil due to negotiated compromise on its stance on nuclear energy projects have respectively driven down global demands and global prices of crude oil on the international stage- realities which also naturally affect Nigeria.
But a ray of hope exists…
The ongoing slump in global oil prices is making it less profitable for the U.S. shale oil producers to continue in business the new way. Furthermore, as more U.S. refineries are better suited to refine light crude, the type Nigeria produces, building new refineries to process heavy variety of crude oil from fracking is not currently cost-effective in view of the ongoing non-competitiveness of the barrel price. The current pricing of crude has made oil recovery from shale far more expensive than importing, signaling resumed consumption of Nigeria’s light sweet crude previously floating idle on the sea for what seemed eons before.
In addition, the oil futures market signals that oil prices will rise as OPEC members are considering decision to stabilise the market through production freeze, and have scheduled an informal meeting slated for September in Algiers to deliberate on same. Even hitherto reluctant Saudi Arabia is more disposed to the suggestion now and appears willing to work with other oil producers to stabilise prices. Meanwhile refineries in the US have resumed buying foreign oil to replace the deficit in internal output, storing much of the less-expensive imported oil to sell in anticipation of a price rise in the short term future.
The forgoing, along with ongoing negotiation talks to create peace in the bomb-ravaged Niger-delta as well as promotion of marginal field development imperatives, suggest the Nigeria oil market might yet exult in some measure of positive turnaround in fortune sooner than expected despite transient depressions bequeathed on the sector.
-Lanre Fashina, Research &Strategic Communications, Zenera Consulting.
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