Has Job Loss Been Peculiar To Just The Buhari-led Government, As Claimed By Reno Omokri?


As news of deflection continues to hit the All Progressive Congress (APC), a member of the former ruling Party, PDP, has come out to discredit the achievements of Pres. Muhammadu Buhari.

In a series of tweets from the media aide of ex-President, Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri claims that unemployment rate has been worse under the current administration than it has been in previous administrations. He references a report from the National Bureau of Statistics which shows the unemployment rate of Nigerians in the last quarter of 2017.

However, evidence from the same NBS says this government has reported both job gains and losses, and the number of unemployed Nigerians between the time frame is 4.4 million, not 7.9 million.

CLAIMS:

“The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) just released another jobs report showing that in the last 21 months under reviewing, an additional 7.9 million Nigerians became unemployed under Buhari. This is the first government since 1999 that has never reported job gains, only job losses!” Reno’s tweet read.

“Such job losses never happened under the @PDPOfficial” he claimed in another tweet.

  1. An additional 7.9 million Nigerians became unemployed under Buhari in the last 21 months.
  2. This is the first government since 1999 that has never reported job gains, only job losses

VERIFICATION OF CLAIM 1:

According to Reno, information was obtained from the National Bureau of Statistics. The NBS releases quarterly reports on unemployment in Nigeria, subject to funding. As such, there has been no official release of the rate of unemployment in Nigeria since the third Quarter of 2017.

“We have been unable to update this report because of inadequate funding to do the works. Whenever funding is made available, then it will be updated”, says Yemi Kale, the Statistician-General of the Federation.

In the last 21 months, the unemployment rate of 9 months out of the 21 months is unaccounted for because there are simply no records. In the remaining 12 months spanning Q4 of 2016 to Q3 of 2017, statistics show that about 4.4 million Nigerians became unemployed, not 7.9 million.

In Q4 of 2016, there were 11.5 million unemployed Nigerians and this increased to 11.9 million in the First Quarter of 2017; 13.6 million in Q2 of 2017 and finally, 16.0 million in Q3 of 2017.

A drop in full employment in Q4 of 2016 from 52.6 million to 51 million people still does not amount to a total of 7.9m people. The figure by Reno is therefore INACCURATE.

VERIFICATION OF CLAIM 2:

Although there was a recession during the administration of President Buhari which resulted in untold hardships for Nigerians, the government of Pres. Buhari has actually recorded job gains. Between the Fourth Quarter of 2016 and the First Quarter of 2017, there was an increase in full time employment from 52.6 million to 53.8 million.

There are no official records for 2018 so one can only infer whether there has been job gains or not.

Moreover, this is not the only government that has experienced job losses since 1999. The 2011 Performance Monitoring Report of Government’s Ministries, Departments and Agencies indicates that in 2010, the unemployment rate in Nigeria was 21.1% but it increased to 23.9% in 2011.

Also, in June 2013, a report, Nigeria Economic Report, released by the World Bank, unemployment rate in the country worsened from “12% of the working population in 2006 to 24% in 2011.”

The report added that: “Preliminary indications are that this upward trend continued in 2012.” This implies that from the tail end of Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration, all through President Yar’Adua and President Jonathan’s role as substantive president, job losses and unemployment rate increased!

Though the extent to which Reno’s use of “such” in his tweet is to be interpreted is not clearcut. What is clearcut is that the continuous increase in the trend of unemployment underscores Reno’s claim of “this being the first government since 1999 that has reported job losses.”

12TH CONSECUTIVE RISE IN UNEMPLOYMENT

Even though Reno’s figure on unemployment in Nigeria is wrong, within the last quarters of 2014 and 2018, the country has experienced consecutive rise in the rate of unemployment. Nigeria’s unemployment rate currently stands at 18.8%. This is the twelfth consecutive rise since the last quarter of 2014 — which covers the entirety of Buhari’s regime and the tail end of Goodluck Jonathan’s administration.

In absolute numbers, according to the data from the NBS from July to September 2017, while a total of 51.1 million people are in full-time employment, or working at least 40 hours a week, the number of people who were unemployed had increased to an estimated 15.9 million, while the underemployed were at about 18 million (21.2%).
Combined, 40% of the country’s labour force were therefore either underemployed or had no job.

CONCLUSION

Unemployment has been on the rise in Nigeria, both under the APC and PDP led governments. Nevertheless, an additional 7.9 million Nigerians did not become unemployed under Buhari, rather about 4.4 million.

It is also FALSE to say that this administration has never reported job gains. Statistics show that there was an increase in full-time employment between the ending of 2016 and beginning of 2017, after which there was a constant decline in unemployment.