Akwa Ibom Ranked Second In Unemployment Rate, But Govt Rejects It

NBS Straightnews
National Bureau of Statistics

Akwa Ibom State is ranked the second-highest unemployment carrier with 45.2 per cent in the country, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) has stated.

Imo State has the highest unemployment rate – 48.7 per cent while Rivers State (43.7 per cent) occupies the third position in the country.

However, Anambra State has the lowest unemployment rate in the nation – 17 per cent.

So far, Nigeria’s unemployment rate has risen to 27 per cent in the second quarter of 2020, against 23.1 per cent reported in the third quarter of 2018, the Bureau stated this in its ‘Labor Force Statistics: Unemployment and Underemployment Report’ released on Friday.

“For the period under review, Q2 2020, the unemployment rate among young people (15-34 years) was 34.9 per cent, up from 29.7 per cent, while the rate of underemployment for the same age group rose to 28.2 per cent from 25.7 per cent in Q3 2018. These rates were the highest when compared to other age groupings,” the NBS report said.

According to the NBS, the number of persons in the economically active age (15 – 64 years), jumped from 115,492,969 in Q3 2018 to 116,871,186 in Q2 2020.

“The number of persons in the labour force (i.e. people within ages 15 -64, who are able and willing to work) was estimated to be 80,291,894,” it said.

This was 11.3 per cent less than the number of persons in Q3 2018.

“Of this number, those within the age bracket of 25-34 were highest, with 23,328,460 or 29.1 per cent of the labour force,” it added.

A further peep into the latest NBS unemployment data indicated that the number of employed people in Q2 2020 slumped by 15.8 per cent to 58,527,276 when placed side by side with that of Q3 2018.

“Of this number, 35,585,274 were full-time employed (i.e. worked 40+ hours per week), while 22,942,003 were underemployed (i.e. working between 20-29 hours per week),” the report revealed.

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“For underemployment, the state which recorded the highest rate was Zamfara with 43.7 per cent, while Anambra State recorded the lowest underemployment rate, with 17 per cent in Q2 2020,” the agency said.

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“Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, 2,736,076 did not do any work in the last seven days preceding the survey due to the lockdown but had secure jobs to return to after the lockdown,” the NBS said.

However, the Akwa Ibom government has reacted to the ranking by the bureau that the state has the second-highest unemployment rate.
A press release signed by Comrade Ini Ememobong, the state Commissioner for Information and Strategy, said “The attention of Akwa Ibom State Government has been drawn to the ‘Labor Force Statistics: Unemployment and Underemployment Report’  by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), wherein it listed Akwa Ibom state as the state with the second-highest unemployment rate in the country. This conclusion, which calls for serious scrutiny, is unbelievable.
According to him, “The reality on the ground in our state is in contradistinction to the Bureau’s report. A juxtaposition of the said report with the reality of the existence and operation of the numerous industries in our state, the recruitment into the civil and public service, Public-Private Partnership initiatives, the award of direct Labour contracts, our airline and general aviation businesses, qualitative cash support and interest-free loans to entrepreneurs, financial and input support to farmers; the obvious conclusion will confirm that indeed the current administration has created quality jobs in an unprecedented manner.
“This reality is not attempting to deny the existence of unemployment-which is a global phenomenon worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The Information boss noted, “As a responsible government, we intend to engage the National Bureau of Statistics,  to ascertain the veracity of their processes and results.”
He queried “What was the sample size used in the survey? What was the spatial spread of the sample? What population figure did they use to obtain the percentage recorded for Akwa Ibom? What quality assurance mechanisms did they employ? What was the temporal spread of the data used in the analyses? In order to ensure trust and confidence in statistical output, with which agency of the state government was the data source authentication done?”
“It is common knowledge that unemployment has its permanent corollary, a spike in crime, increased youth restiveness etc. In our state, citizens, security agencies and guest alike, agree without any doubt, that we are Nigeria’s safest state. How then can a state be the safest, which has witnessed an influx of industries and other economic activities, purveyed by local cum foreign investors and still be the state with the second-largest unemployment percentage?
“The role of data in a survey is to reflect the existing reality, not to project the imaginary,” Ememobong added.