The Akwa Ibom government has described as “unrealistic” and “unbelievable” the categorisation of Akwa Ibom by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) as the state with the second-highest unemployment rate in Nigeria.
NBS in its recent report said Imo state with 48.7 per cent unemployment rate was the highest in the country, followed by Akwa Ibom with 45.2 per cent. The report is for the second quarter of 2020.
Rivers State (43.7 per cent) is the third-highest. Anambra State (13.1 per cent) has the lowest unemployment rate in the country.
The bureau said Nigeria’s unemployment rate rose to 27.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2020.
The Commissioner for Information in Akwa Ibom, Ini Emembong, said the NBS statistics called for “serious scrutiny.”
“The reality on ground in our state is in contradistinction to the Bureau’s report,” Mr Emembong said in a press statement, Saturday.
“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,” he said.
Mr Ememobong said the Akwa Ibom government intends to engage the NBS “to ascertain the veracity of their processes and results.”
He said, “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?”
He said they would also want to know which agency of the Akwa Ibom government authenticated the data source for the sake of trust and confidence in statistical output.
“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 commissioner said.
NBS said it used Computer Assisted Telephone interviewing approach to collect data in all the 36 states in Nigeria for the report.
“10 interviewers were selected per state, with each interviewer assigned to 50 households. Each interviewer was expected to cover 5 households per day, with a total of 12 days allotted for fieldwork.
“On assessment of the response level after the 12 days of interviews, a further 5 days was added to allow interviewers complete allotted households. A robust data monitoring mechanism was adopted to assure for quality of the returns. Interviewers were mandated to submit their completed interviews to the server daily and a team of data editors would go through each of the returns to scrutinise before giving a final approval to go for analysis.
“Any suspicious returns were rejected and sent back for further review and clarification. Also, there was a team of back-checkers that would randomly call the respondents from the completed returns to confirm that they provided the information contained in the interviews,” the bureau said.
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