CSJ urges NBS to release Nigeria’s unemployment data
The Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a Nigerian knowledge institution and leading advocate for fiscal transparency, accountability and evidence-driven policymaking and implementation, has urged the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) to compile and release the current unemployment data for the country. The Lead Director, of CSJ, Eze Onyekpere, stated that as an institution responsible for producing official statistics crucial for economic growth and development, NBS has a duty to provide up-to-date information to policymakers, taxpayers and the public.
He noted that Nigeria’s last unemployment data was released by NBS in the fourth quarter of 2020. “Since then, there has been a glaring absence of updated information”, which he considered a dereliction of duty. CSJ emphasized the urgency for NBS to release the quarterly and yearly employment data for 2021, 2022 and 2023 without further delay.
“In the fourth quarter of 2020, Nigeria’s unemployment rate reached a distressing record high of 33.3 per cent, a significant increase from the 27.1 per cent recorded in the second quarter of the same year. NBS reported that during that period, a staggering 23.18 million individuals in Nigeria either remained unemployed or worked less than 20 hours per week, rendering them jobless.
“The combination of unemployment and underemployment led to a concerning figure of 56.1% for the reference period, signifying the immense challenges faced by Nigerians in finding suitable and adequate employment that provides a living wage.
“NBS also highlighted the states with the highest rates of unemployment and underemployment, with IMO State leading at 56.64 per cent for unemployment and Benue State at 43.52 per cent for underemployment.”
Onyekpere further stated that projections from KPMG further amplified the urgency of the situation.
“The latest figures indicated that Nigeria’s unemployment rate is predicted to rise to 40.6 per cent in 2023, compared to 37.7 per cent in 2022. KPMG’s International Global Economic Outlook report – Q1 2023, explained that factors such as limited private sector investment, low industrialization, slower-than-required economic growth and the inability of the economy to absorb new entrants into the job market contributed to this worrisome trend.
“Moreover, the report suggests that GDP growth will continue at a sluggish pace of 3 per cent in 2023, primarily due to the anticipated slowdown in economic activity during periods of political transition in Nigeria.
“Additionally, the projected global economic slowdown in 2023 and its trade and financial implications are expected to further impede GDP growth.”
CSJ noted that timely access to accurate data and information was vital for formulating effective policies and interventions to address the pressing unemployment crisis in the country. According to the group, failure to release this critical data only served to hinder progress and exacerbate the challenges faced by Nigerian citizens.