Prince Clem Agba, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, claims that despite regional and global shocks, the Federal Government has seen economic progress.
Agba made this statement during a sensitization seminar on the National Bureau of Statistics’ (NBS) NLFS and NLSS surveys of Nigeria’s labor force and living standards in Abuja.
He said that the current administration has made some economic progress, notably in areas like health, education, and general public welfare.
Therefore, the minister urged Nigerians to concentrate on the achievements made by the government. The minister was represented by Dr. Faniran Sanjo, Director of the Social Development Department in the ministry.
He said the global and local shocks include COVID-19, the Russian-Ukraine crisis, security challenges and the climate change effects disaster in recent times.
Agba said it was important to disregard the negative opinion that the government had thrown more people into poverty or had done nothing to mitigate the effects of the global challenges.
“My advice, therefore, is to focus more on comparative analysis of the situation in other countries particularly in Africa and Europe to appreciate the efforts of the government of Nigeria.
“For example in Ghana, Ethiopia and Rwanda, inflation was reported at 40. 4 per cent, 31.7 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively in October 2022.
” While the inflation figure recorded in the UK was at its highest rate of 11.1 per cent, the highest since October 1981.
He said with the high rate of inflation in the above-listed countries, Nigerians could envisage the negative effect on household consumption and poverty levels.
“This will convince us that Nigeria is progressing if you compare some of the statistics by the NBS with other countries across the globe. ”
The minister assured Nigerians that the government would target the relevant areas of the economy to achieve its objective of addressing the welfare and well-being of all Nigerians.
Agba said the NLFS and NLSS would be a valuable addition to the existing data available to the government for dissemination and use for policy-making across all relevant sectors.
The minister said the recent comments and complaints by the users of Nigeria’s labour statistics, both domestic and international, necessitated a rethink of the 20-hour-a-week employment definition.
” Consequently, working with the World Bank, the NBS engaged in a comprehensive process of reviewing and revising the labour force survey of Nigeria.
“This one is more encompassing but covers not only the definition but also includes sampling procedure, data collection and methodology.
” The outcome, therefore, had delivered a more realistic and internationally aligned definition of one hour a week and a data sample and data collection process for the NLFS.”
The Statistician-General of the Federation, Prince Semiu Adeniran, said the purpose of the event was to sensitise the public on the conduct of NLSS, and the newly enhanced NLFS.
Adeniran said the NLSS was a follow-up to the previous round conducted in 2018/2019, keeping pace with the expected four to five-year frequency.
He said the two surveys had been pretested and piloted, each in six selected states in each of the geo-political zones in the country, to ensure readiness for full implementation.
” While the NLFS is already in the field collecting data in selected households across the country, the fieldwork for NLSS will equally commence in all the 36 States and the FCT.
He said the planning process for the two surveys, which was done with the World Bank, adopted the use of modern platforms and methodologies for designing and implementing both surveys.
“While the NLSS exercise has largely maintained the same design as the previous round in 2018/2019, the NLFS has undergone more notable changes from previous rounds.
“The major change to this round of the NLSS is the use of newly carved out digital enumeration area maps from the National Population Commission, for the selection of clusters and subsequent household listing.
” Also, the addition of new questions and modules on Remittances, Migration and Absentee Household members, Migration Aspiration, Social Cohesion, Petrol Subsidy, and Subjective well-being to the NLSS survey questionnaire.”
” The NLFS however, has recorded more significant changes from the way it was being implemented previously.”
The statistician-general said the NLFS data was carefully selected from a sample of more than 35,000 households, spread over 12 months, instead of the large 33,000 samples surveyed every quarter.
Additionally, he said new questions on persons employed but not at work, long-term unemployment, job satisfaction, discouraged job seekers, and information on decent work, were all included in the revised instrument.
Adeniran said with the new concept and approach to conducting the NLFS, Nigeria would be setting a new standard in Africa for the conduct of the Labour Force Survey.
“This is a major deal for the country, as we will be ensuring that the government and indeed the public, always have reliable information on the health of the labour market.
“This will help to support all the laudable initiatives and programmes designed to boost employment generation in Nigeria.”
He called on participants, most especially representatives from the state ministries of local government and chieftaincy affairs, to kindly support the NBS in sensitising their people about the conduct of these surveys.
The World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Shubham Chaudhuri, said there was a lack of trust and faith by the citizens of Nigeria in the government.
Chaudhuri, however, said the robust use of data could help bridge the trust gap.
” I think this whole idea of using data robustly should be part of the solution to restore trust and faith in government.
“The importance and usage of data will only resonate if there is faith in the robustness of the data collected and that is essentially in the robustness, integrity and capability of the agency collecting the data.”
He said once the survey results were ready, citizens should ensure they use them as a basis for holding the government accountable and interrogating government decisions.