A few days ago, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) published the 2020 survey which showed Anambra as the state with the lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria. The survey showed that only thirteen percent of the 2.3 million people of working age bracket in the state are unemployed in a nation where the national average unemployment rate is over 27 percent.
Again, aside from the NBS revelations, Economic and Management experts have, variously, inferred that performance indicators show that since the incumbent Governor Willie Obiano came on board, Anambra has fared better and towered higher in the scheme of things in Nigeria. His Excellency, Chief Willie Obiano has comparatively done many things positively different from others.
The state governor has shown a great leadership promise that deserves applause. On assumption of office, his Vision Statement of making Anambra State the first choice investment destination and the most preferred location to site new industries and his MISSION of creating a socially stable, business-friendly environment that will attract both indigenes and foreigners to seek wealth-creating opportunities in the State, showcases a proactive leader that is determined to fight unemployment.
It is a public knowledge that Anambra state does not receive much from the federation account because it is not treated as an oil-producing state and it does not receive much from the organized private sector in form of taxes and levies like Lagos and Ogun states; neither does it get special privileges from the Federal Government, yet it constantly comes tops in all kinds of competitions and performance assessments by respected national and international bodies.
Realists believe that this shows that the State has more than a government that manages resources prudently but is also blessed with committed and visionary leadership. As the eight most populous state in Nigeria and second most densely populated after Lagos, Anambra has lived up to its billing as a state with immense resources, characterized by people who carry on most animated businesses.
Relatively, Anambra State’s employment performance came to no one as a surprise despite the glaring disadvantages that the state faces. Anambra remains the first state to pay both workers and pensioners before the end of every month throughout the federation, and this religious payment on the 24th or 25th of every month enables money to circulate within the state as markets and self-employed people recover their investments easily.
Currently, Anambra has the lowest poverty index, the highest growth rate of manufacturing outfits in Nigeria, and the highest growth of import substitutes in rice and vegetable production in Nigeria. The state has the lowest loan and debt exposure. Anambra is currently involved in the building of new cities planned to meet the standard of any modern city in the world.
Recall that Anambra was one of the five states identified by the Federal Government in 2019 for a great improvement in the ease of doing business in the country, winning the first prize in the annual assessment of states which promote small and medium enterprises. The massive influx of investments in the last six years, worth about five billion dollars, could be ascribed to the new reputation of Anambra as the country’s safest and most peaceful state.
Anambra has the largest livestock in the Southeast, just as it has become one of the biggest rice producers and processors in Nigeria, even helping states like Lagos and Kebbi with rice milling. Yam, bitter leaf, pumpkin leaf, dried fish, egusi, spices, and other foodstuffs from Anambra State are exported to Europe and the United States. Electricity supply has increased tremendously in the state. Nightlife, due largely to the dazzling street lights, provide more jobs for people. All these translate to, not just money for the people, but also meaningful employment, hence the state’s lowest unemployment rate in Nigeria.
It is remarkable to note that majority of Governor Obiano’s political appointees are youths. Understandably, youths are the most vulnerable in terms of unemployment in any clime, hence, keeping them actively engaged in the political ecosystem of the state is one of governor Obiano’s way of building a sustainable young politically aware generation that will take over the state affairs in the near future and do even better than their parents’ generation.