JONATHAN ADMINISTRATION AND THE FIGHT AGAINST UNEMPLOYMENT
While many Nigerians are still basking in the euphoria that President Jonathan's administration created about 1.7 million new jobs for all citizens last year, recent figure released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that, a total of 500, 224 new jobs were added to the economy in the first and second quarters of this year.
The Statistician-General of the Federation (SGF), Mr. Yemi Kale disclosed this to newsmen while inaugurating a committee for the review of unemployment definition in the country as well as the launch of its quarterly job creation surveys in Abuja. He said, a total of 240,871 jobs were created in the first quarter of the year, while a total of 259, 353 jobs were created in the second quarter of the year.
According to Mr. Kale, the formal sector added a total of 76, 018 new jobs while the informal sector added about 158, 894 new jobs to our growing economy. The public sector on its own created about 5,959 new jobs as well. All these figures are within the first and the second quarters of this year alone.
Similarly, a total of 78,755 new jobs were created in the second quarter of the year from the formal sector, while a total of 175, 786 new jobs were also created from the informal sector. The public sector added additional 4, 812 new jobs in the same second quarter of this year.
The figure released shows that, the Education sector created the highest number of jobs in the formal sector. It accounted for about 23, 643 new jobs representing about 31 percent of the total employment generated from the formal sector. The Manufacturing sector followed suit with the creation of 11, 088 new jobs representing about 14.6 of the jobs created. The electricity, gas steam and air-conditioning supply sector added a total of 12 jobs to the formal sector of the national economy.
The informal sector which includes most of the jobs created from Agriculture, Micro, Small and Medium Scales Enterprises (MSMEs) increased by 9.8 percent. This is calculated based on the total number of jobs it added to our economy within the first quarter of this year.
However, the total number of jobs added to our economy within the second quarter of the year shows an increase of about 7.1 percent when compared to the number of jobs created in the second quarter of the year 2013 which all together amounted to 1.7 million new jobs for all Nigerians in that year, irrespective of class, religion, tribe or political affiliation. This means that out of the 221, 054 jobs created in the second quarter of last year 2013, a higher figure of 240, 871 new jobs were created this year.
The Education sector also dominated the number of jobs created in the formal sector within the second quarter of the year. It created 29, 060 jobs representing about 36. 9 percent which shows an increase of about 5.9 percent from the figure recorded within the first quarter of this year. The Manufacturing sector also followed suit with the creation of 11, 138 jobs representing 14.14 percent of the total jobs created from the formal sector in the second quarter.
In similar vein, the Statistician-General of the Federation also inaugurated the committee for the review of unemployment statistics which is in line with the Transformation Agenda of the Jonathan's Administration. Under this, the committee is to come up with an acceptable and appropriate definition as well as the methodology to ascertaining the actual rate of unemployment in the country. This has become necessary following the subterfuging figure often quoted by some persons especially the opposition as the rate of unemployment in Nigeria.
A part from the bogus and insubstantial figure often quoted by the opposition as the rate of unemployment in the country, the current International Labour Organization (ILO) model which Nigeria is currently using need to be replaced with a home grown model. For example, the ILO model says a person who had been employed for at least an hour in a week is classified as an employed person. And going by this, the number of unemployed persons in Nigeria will be very insignificant. So, in order not to be prescribing a different drug for a different ailment, there is the need for such a review leading to a home grown approach.
What all this statistical figures have succeeded in doing is to 'expose' the hidden achievements of what the Jonathan's Transformation Agenda has recorded in the area of job creation. Also, worthy of note is the fact that, the regime has being able to diversify our economy from over dependence on oil and gas sector to the real sector. In this context, it is necessary to recall that the oil and gas sector is an investment that is capital intensive but offers little employment opportunities to Nigerians. This is because; most of the labour needs are technologically intensive and as a result, does not require direct human labour, but advanced machines.
Therefore, the President must be commended for keeping the promise he made to Nigerians during his electioneering campaigns in 2011 on fighting unemployment in the country.
Comrade Edwin Uhara is an Activist, Media Consultant and a Public Affairs Commentator. He is also a Member of the PDP Project Reloaded Media Team, Abuja.