The Ministry of Labour on Friday engaged in a brickbat on social media with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) over the latter’s report on unemployment rate in the country, doubting its accuracy and conformity with international standards.
In March, the NBS released Labour Force Statistics for the fourth quarter of 2020. According to the report, unemployment rate rose to 33.3 percent in the last quarter of last year from 27.1 percent in the second quarter of the same year. It also revealed that underemployment fell to 22.8 percent in the fourth quarter from 28.6 percent.
But Senator Chris Ngige, who is in charge of the Ministry of Labour and Employment, disagreeing with the figures from the NBS, was quoted to have said during a visit by the leadership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) that there was confusion about the data and it did not conform with international standards.
“We have a virtual meeting of the National Economic Advisory Council with the World Bank to look at Nigeria’s modalities for employment statistics data collection,” a statement attributed to Ngige was tweeted by the Ministry’s official account.
“There has been a little confusion there as to the accuracy of data generated by the NBS. So, we want to align everything tomorrow. The World Bank says the NBS methodology doesn’t conform with the global standard, especially the ILO format of arriving at such Employment Index.”
Responding to the Ministry’s barrage of tweets, the NBS stated that the World Bank did not question the accuracy of its report.
“The World Bank has denied making any such statement and rather together with the economic advisory committee affirmed its confidence, commendation, support and close working relationship with @nigerianstat,” the NBS wrote, adding that the World Bank could be contacted “if in doubt”.
The survey sampled 33,300 homes in rural and urban areas across the country. The Bureau stated that the indicators it used in the exercise were meant to “inform the work of policy makers and government”.
Observers say that the findings of reports such as this would be frowned upon, especially when creation of jobs is one of the electoral promises of the government.
“Accordingly, we should never allow the statistics office or the statistics system to be subjected to interference or ideology,” Dr Yemi Kale, Director-General of the NBS, said in 2016. “When you see senior government officials and other members of society disagree with data from the statistics office and that statistics office doesn’t immediately withdraw its data or reverse it, then it is clear they are working independently.”
FIJ contacted the World Bank for comments, but was yet to get response as of press time.
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