Moroccan fertilizers to create more than 50,000 jobs in Nigeria ?

The group Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) Maikanti Kacalla Baru declared that the Memorandum of understanding signed between Morocco and Nigeria has created 50,000 jobs and has added 1.3 million tonnes of fertilizers in the Nigerian agricultural sector.

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King Mohammed VI intended during his last visit to Nigeria to promote the bilateral economic relations between the two countries. His intentions were translated through the signing of a Memorandum of understanding bringing together two major companies, namely the Moroccan leading company OCP and the NNPC, the Nigerian state-owned corporation that leads the country’s petroleum industry. The partnership will allow the Moroccan company to revive 11 fertilizer plants and help the federal republic to boost its agricultural sector. Consequently, the last statement of Maikandi Kacalla Baru, Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation indicates that the agreement would create more than 50,000 jobs and 1.3 million tonnes of fertilizers.

According to The Guardian Nigeria, Bahu stated while hosting the National coordinator of the New partnership for African development Gloria Akobundu last week in the Nigerian capital that he was «happy to inform [her] that this development has translated to the creation of about 50,000 jobs and led to the production of about 1.3 million tonnes of fertilizer in the country». OCP being one of the leading exporters of phosphate fertilizers in the world has already sent 100.000 tons of raw materials to Nigeria : «The Moroccans have already supplied a cargo of phosphate which has been delivered to various blending plants across the country. Already, eleven blending plants have come into production because of the supply», Baru claims.

According to Thisdaylive, a Nigerian online newspaper, «the phosphate supply MoU between the two countries was targeted at rejuvenating Nigeria’s agricultural outputs by making fertilizer accessible and affordable to farmers in the country.»

On the creation of 50,000 jobs

Creating 50,000 jobs remains a very ambiguous statement, the Nigerian official referred to a consequent figure that may be hard to attain. OCP, partner of the Nigerian project has nearly 20,000 employees. The Dangote group, on the other hand,  a huge Nigerian multinational industrial conglomerate, employs only 26,000 people. Compared to these two big companies, the 11 fertilizers plans built through “Africa Fertilizer complex” would supposedly only provide a few hundred direct jobs. Whether through direct or indirect employment, it is hard to believe that the fertilizers project would ensure 50,000 jobs. 

Bringing expertise, good management and raw materials, Morocco However would help the country to reinforce its economy. Taib Aisse an economist told Yabiladi that «the fertilizers imported from Morocco will boost the dynamicity of several sectors that are interrelated to agriculture». Aisse explained that «the federal country has immense cultivable lands that are ready to be exploited and the Moroccan fertilizers provided that».

When asked about the jobs that Nigeria claims would be created in the period following the agreement, Aisse stated that these kinds of agreements especially in a country like Nigeria can create direct and indirect employment. The analyst added that the African country’s population is actively operating in agriculture. However, these jobs are not meant to be created on the spot. The agreement can be beneficial for other sectors and not only agriculture and that can involve the creation of different jobs. Let's also not forget the farmers.»

Looking at Baru’s declaration from a different perspective, Abdelkhalek Touhami an economist declared to Yabiladi that «the number of jobs the Nigerian MD of NNPC has announced can be approachable since the country has a population of 186 millions». Touhami believes that the establishment of the project can both have an impact on agriculture by creating direct jobs and the local economy through indirect employment. Touhami also pointed out that boosting cultivation for Nigeria includes the promotion and development of small companies, farms, construction works, schools and restaurants among others.

In a attempt to clarify the ambigious statement of the NNPC managing director, Belkacem Tayeb, a foreign direct investment expert explained to Yabiladi that «the Nigerian fertilizers project is supposed to be established through a 10-year investment programme.» To put it in other words, the 50,000 jobs can not be created on the spot. The accomplishment of such scenario is still subject to the political environment of the country not being disrupted by internal conflicts, such as Boko Haram and Delta of Niger militants insurrections which could eventually impact the local industries hence the job creation and the development of the economy through such projects. The creation of the 50,000 jobs therefore, is a long-term objective that can be eventually reached in the future.

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