By NBF News

In furtherance of its seven point agenda, the Federal Government is set launch a comprehensive census of all unemployed able-bodied persons in the country to facilitate better economic planning.

To begin, the government has designed a pilot scheme scheduled to take place in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chief Emeka Wogu, has disclosed.

Receiving the report of the Technical Committee on a Data Base of the Unemployed in his office at the weekend, Wogu reasoned that a country without comprehensive data on employment would be unable to make economic plans.

He said the absence of such data had equally masked the performance of the National Directorate of Employment (NDE) and other job creation agencies of the Federal Government.

Wogu received the report in the presence of the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Labour, Ambassador Alex Chike Anigbo (mni), and the Director-General of the NDE, Mallam Abubakar Mohammed.

The report was presented by the chairman of the 15 man technical committee, Dr. Godson Dinneya.

Receiving the report, Wogu said that the data base would also capture the number of those employed and rate of job losses in the country.

He said: 'If this is the only thing that I can achieve that I will be able to bequeath a legacy that will outlive me as Minister of Labour and Productivity this project is borne out of my desire to add value to what I found on assumption. The Ministry of Labour should not only be concerned with issues relating to industrial relations, rather other issues regarding productivity, employment, unemployment, job losses and approximate knowledge of the number of unemployed.'

He explained that the background to the data base programme was based on the fact of lack of data either from the agencies that were concerned with provision of data or from the inertia of those that had passed through his ministry.

'I decided that for me to tackle issues on employment or unemployment that there is need for me to have a data base, a data base that will be dedicated strictly to issues on employment or unemployment,' he said

'Most activities of interventionist agencies like NDE, National Agency for Poverty Eradication Programme (NAPEP) and other agencies that create jobs go unnoticed because we don't have records of their activities and that is why you have staff of NDE being members of this committee.'

'Maybe because we don't have records we don't know how many people have been trained and that is why we have decided to come in to capture a data base on employment and unemployment.

'As Chairman of NDE I know that the parastatal has created a lot of jobs in the past and we are desirous of creating even more but I want those jobs created to be captured on our data base,' Iheanacho stated.

The Minister opined that a country without good data could not plan economically and could even engage in certain other governmental issues, assuring that 'once this is in place we will be able to capture the number of employed, the number of people who are losing their jobs and we will now be able to develop key performance indicators for all those parastatals who are involved in the creation of jobs.'

'He aknowledged that a Herculean task that needed a lot of efforts to make it come to fruition, but assured that he had seen that the report of the committee was done in phases and that they would want to start with the FCT as a pilot case. Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary Ambassador Anigbo praised the determination of the Minister in pursuing the project saying that it would be a legacy that would outlive him.

The Director General of the NDE in his own remarks promised the full cooperation of the NDE in the realization of the objectives of the project as he noted that the NDE would be a primary beneficiary of the project.