NBS Unemployment Committee Report Review

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May 14, 2015 / 3.02pm /National Bureau of Statistics

Background

National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is the national statistical agency for the Federal Republic of Nigeria. It came into existence by the Statistics Act 2007, which merged the former National Data Bank (NDB) and the defunct Federal Office of Statistics (FoS). NBS is mandated to produce and disseminate all official statistics and is also the coordinator of the National Statistical System (NSS).

The NSS is the central body for users and producers of official statistics. One of the major functions of NBS is “to promote the use of best practice and international standards in the statistical production, management and dissemination”.

As the coordinator of the NSS, NBS is therefore thrust with the responsibility of ensuring that all official statistics are based on international best practices and standards.NBS produces and disseminates different types of data covering macroeconomic, financial, social, economic sectors periodically.

NBS is also the official producer of labour statistics, which provides information on employment and unemployment rate, as well as other labour information in Nigeria. Job creation in recent times has been on the front burner for many governments and policy makers across the world. This is mainly in response to the high rates of unemployment, particularly among the youths caused by the global economic crisis in 2008/09. This has been no different for the government in Nigeria.

The Transformation Agenda of the present administration has Job Creation as one of the three main pillars. To successfully realize this, it is very important to have accurate data on the numbers of jobs being generated and the level of employment in the country. This information is necessary to enable government track the effectiveness of its job creation initiatives and to see what particular policies and sectors of the economy are responsible for the employment being generated.

More importantly, this information is relevant to assess the impact on unemployment in the country. If the economy is generating a lot of jobs but yet the unemployment rate is rising, then it is important for the government to know, so as to find ways of adjusting its policies and programs, hence the significant importance of job creation and employment statistics.

How is Employment Statistics Generated?
Employment statistics have been generated in Nigeria for over 45 years through the Labour Force Survey. The first labour force survey was conducted in 1966/67 by the National Manpower Board with technical support from the then Federal Office of Statistics (FOS), which has now become NBS of today.

The Labour Force Survey is a household based survey which collects information of labour characteristics of households in the country. Indicators such as the labour force population, number of economically active population, number of employed persons and unemployment rate are derived from this survey.

The unemployment rate is one indicator which stands out from all the others computed from the survey. Generally, an unemployed Report of the Review Committee on Unemployment Statistics person is anyone who is not working but is looking, willing and available to take up work at the earliest opportunity. Statistically, the unemployment rate is defined as the proportion of the labour force that is available and looking for work during the reference period, which is normally the last 7 days before the survey is administered. In computing the unemployment rate, several criteria must be satisfied to determine the constituents of the labour force. It is then the proportion of the labour force that is unemployed that is used to compute the rate. Under the International Labour Organisation (ILO) guidelines, anyone in the labour force who works at least an hour during that 7 days reference period is considered employed. Within the Nigerian context, any person in the labour force who did not work for up to 40 hours during reference week is considered to be unemployed.

This definition used by NBS was adopted in a national workshop with several participants drawn from the National Statistical System (NSS). The use of 40 hours as a cutoff or measure has been described as outdated, both by local and international partners and inconsistent with present realities in the country. In line with NBS mandate of developing and promoting the use of statistical standards and appropriate methodologies in the statistical system, it has become necessary to review this methodology.

As with other methodologies under revision by NBS, stakeholders are invited to work with the Bureau to assess the status quo and decide on the appropriate methodology to be employed, if at all necessary. NBS has invited various members of academia, public sector agencies, development partners and other operators in the labour sector to work together to come up with an official definition within the context of international agreed parameters for labour statistics, appropriate to the Nigerian condition.

These terms of reference stipulate the expectations of the “Committee for the Review of the Definition and Methodology for Computing of Unemployment Statistics”.

Objective of the Workshop
The objective of the Committee for the Review of the Definition and Methodology for Computing of Unemployment Statisticsis is to deliberate on the current definition of unemployment as applied by NBS and propose a most suitable definition for the Nigerian environment, while still satisfying international best practices.

Scope of Work
The scope of work for the Committee for the Review of the Definition and Methodology for
Computing of Unemployment Statistics includes:
i. To determine the appropriateness or otherwise of the current NBS unemployment definition and proffer a suitable definition for Nigeria within internationally agreed parameters.

ii. Prepare and submit a report on the findings and recommendations of the Committee to NBS for ratification by the National Consultative Committee on Statistics (NCCS). Report of the Review Committee on Unemployment Statistics

iii. Participate in a press conference in Abuja to launch the revised labour force data after ratification by the NCCS.

Participation
The workshop was for all major stakeholders in labour force statistics in Nigeria. In attendance were representatives from, among others; Federal Government Ministries, Departments and Agencies, the academic community, organised private sector, civil society groups, mass media and organised labour. The list of participants is as shown in Appendix 7.1.

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