NBS releases 80% of 2018 Data Calendar

By Cecilia Ologunagba

Dr Isiaka Olarewaju, a director in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said the bureau published more than 80 per cent of reports slated for its Data Release Calendar for 2018.

Olarewaju, who is in charge of Real Sector and Household Statistics disclosed this in an interview on Monday in Abuja.

The director said the calendar of operations was set to meet the objective of the bureau yearly.

The bureau planned to release 179 data on different sectors of the economy in 2018, according to its Calendar of Data Release.

“Sometimes we achieve 80 per cent, sometimes 90 per cent or in the neighbourhood. You know what could cause the inability not to achieve 100 per cent.

“But we do not publish more than what we planned except on a request or on a special assignment.

“For instance, we participated in providing data for Tripartite Committee on Minimum Wage, it was not originally in our Calendar of Operations for 2018.

“Every survey is affected by funds but there are some that you can plan to do before funds will be released,’’ he said.

The director, however, said that the bureau had been adhering to international standard in computing the results of its surveys.

He said everything in the world had to do with definition, similarly he added that the collection and analysis of statistics had to do with definition.

“All we are giving back to the public is as given to us. What we do first is to guide those that are giving us information so that they will not give us wrong information.’’

Speaking on the latest unemployment figures released by NBS, he said the bureau computed the figures based on agreed template by the stakeholders in a consultative forum.

The figures showed that unemployment rate rose to 23.1 per cent in third quarter of 2018 from 18.8 per cent in third quarter of 2017, according to the Labour Force Statistics – Volume I.

The total number of people classified as unemployed -which means they did nothing at all or worked for a few hours (under 20 hours a week) rose from 17.6 million in fourth quarter of 2017 to 20.9 million in third quarter of 2018.

According to him, the definition of an unemployed person is either not engaging in anything at all or he is engaged in activities which engage him less than 20 hours in a week.

“Most people think that once you are qualified to work in a particular sector and you are not working there, you are unemployed but this is not true, as far as you work up to 20 hours in a week, you are employed.

“We collect employed statistics based on what we call labour force survey and it is international, whatever method we are using, it is what is used globally.

He, however said that the purpose of calculating unemployment rate quarterly was also to monitor job creation.

In addition to Labour Force Survey, the director said the bureau regularly sent questionnaire to establishments quarterly to know the employment situation.

“We monitor the trend of whether there is increase in job creation or not with that we know, whether people are losing job or not,” he said.

Olarewaju further said the fact that some people were not in agreement with the employment figures would not render it void.

He said the acceptance of the figures would depend on the portion of the population that it had affected the most most.

“It is just like a referee in football; the one that wins will not see the referee as being unfair but the one that loses will do.

“No matter how bad he has played, he will think the referee is partial so its statistics behaving.

“There should be controversy, depending on how it affects some people. For instance, those in government will think that employment rate is high in spite of all the interventions.

“Whereas, those in the opposition will think, unemployment figures should be higher than what NBS is quoting because they want to use it to make some arguments,” he said. (NAN)