The Federal Government has picked holes in the recently released third quarter report of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), indicating that over four million jobs were lost under the present administration in 2017.
The NBS report had stated that the country’s unemployment rate rose from 14.2% to 18.8% in 2017.
The reported job losses came on the heels of the All Progressives Congress (APC) campaign promise to create 3million jobs annually, if it came into power.
Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Chief Audu Ogbeh, at a press briefing on the National Egg Production Scheme (NEGPRO) in Abuja, faulted those he called ‘calculators of Nigeria’s economic indices’ for reporting job losses in the formal sector without noting that millions of jobs had been created in the informal sector.
He stated that there was no difference between income earned in the village and that earned in the towns and cities; pointing out that farmers; across the villages were getting richer.
Ogbeh said “In many of the states, communities have become richer. In some of the states; the last Hajj was funded; people bought their tickets; foreign exchange and travelled, they paid their way and went on Hajj in many of the northern states.
“Let me correct an impression; I’ve been reading in newspapers that Nigeria has lost four million jobs in the last two years and it became a campaign. But let me make it clear, if we’ve lost 4million jobs in the cities and in the factories; we’ve actually created six million jobs on the farms.
“Let no one pretend that income earned in the village is not the same as income elsewhere. There may have been some job losses; but there have been some job creation efforts in the rural areas because you will find this in many places that villagers are getting richer than many of us in the cities. In my village, the Cashew Association sold cashew worth over N150m and I am always proud to say that I taught them how to grow cashew nuts. And when I go home, I get palm wine in salutation.
“So, when the calculators of the economic indices of Nigeria talk, they don’t know what is going on below. I am in a position to say so because I see it. With this NEGPRO coming on board, another one million jobs would be added.”
However, the NBS report indeed stated that the nation’s labour population increased from 83.9 million in the second quarter of 2017, a difference of 1.2million in additional workforce.
Meanwhile, Minister of Labour and Employment, Senator Chris Ngige, had in his New Year message urged Nigerians not to tremble over the recent statistics on job losses released by the NBS showing that over 4million jobs were lost in 2017.
Ngige said the development was effectively modulated by a similar release by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) which indicated over seven million job growth in the agricultural sector.
The minister agreed that there were actually job losses in 2017, but stated: “I wish to assure Nigerians that 2018 will not be as bleak as 2017 in terms of job losses as the Federal Government has put enough checks to forestall a repeat of what was encountered in 2017. As a matter of fact, the figure released by the NBS must be placed alongside statistics by the Central Bank of Nigeria which shows that over seven million jobs have been created in the Agricultural Sector. This is the only way to arrive at a balanced job situation in the country”.
By Ajansii Mgbom…
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