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.
The reality on 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, 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.
As a responsible government, we intend to engage the National Bureau of Statistics, to ascertain the veracity of their processes and results. Particularly, we will seek answers to the following questions :
- 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 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.
Comrade Ini Ememobong
Commissioner for Information and Strategy
Akwa Ibom State