Rampant unemployment across the country, the Nigerian government says the proportion of people without jobs has plummeted dramatically from 28% to just 6.4%, meaning France has a higher percentage of unemployed people than Nigeria, and the United States and United Kingdom barely managed to beat Nigeria by a mark.Unemployment rate in France stands at 10.6 per cent, while the U.S. and U.K. have 5.5 per cent each.
Nigeria’s new rate, unveiled this week by the National Bureau of Statistics as the outcome of a revised methodology for calculating unemployment, has angered many Nigerians.
The revised methodology for computing unemployment statistics reduced Nigeria’s official work hour benchmark from 40 to 20 hours a week, leaving the possibility of categorizing millions of underemployed Nigerians “employed”.
Work hours are the average number of hours a person is expected to complete in a week to be considered employed.
A Nigerians who described the new figure variously as “delusionary”, “politically motivated”, “unserious” and “fallacious”.
But government experts considered that figure inadequate, arguing that persons who put in as much as 39 hours per week cannot be considered unemployed.
The NBS boss noted the difference between unemployed and “not having work”, saying that only those within the working age of 15 and 64 years and looking for work, but cannot find, are considered unemployed.
“When those in the age brackets of 0-15 years and 65 and above are removed, all others in the economically active population who are not working are either not available or willing to work, not unemployed, like student and full-time housewives,” Mr. Kale said.
Indignation Nigerians React
For the Country Director, PLAN International, Hussaini Abdu, the 6.4% rate is far from realistic. He said 34 per cent would be close to the true figure.
“The truth is that the NBS has been under tremendous pressure from the World Bank and the Minister of Finance to review these indices,” Mr. Abdu said. “The review was basically to reduce the negative expression about unemployment, just as they said poverty level was 53 percent.”
Mr. Abdu said unemployment statistics are too serious to be politicized, particularly at a time Nigeria is having a political transition.
“Changing figures on paper does not reduce the number of the unemployed in the job market. This is a very unserious way to deal with a national problem. If we say unemployment is 6.4 per cent in Nigeria, are we saying we are better off than France, UK and U.S. with higher unemployment figures?
“How do we explain to millions of young Nigerians out in the street looking for jobs? Is government telling them that what is their major problem is not too much a problem? Mr. Abdu stated.
“If government’s is to be believed, it should reflect in the amount of tax they are collecting”, the labour leader said. “This is the globally acceptable standard for measuring employment situation in a country.
“If government is saying almost the entire population are employed and it is not reflected in the tax collected, then something is wrong with the government.”
If one considers the U.S.,(Mr. Esele) said, one hour job for a week would be enough for the person to live very well with his earning, pointing out that in Nigeria’s case, one hour’s work is dependent on other people.
May God Help Us.