Nigeria’s current rate of unemployment is unknown because the body responsible for providing such data is broke.
The last official unemployment data published by the National Bureau of Statistics was for the third quarter of 2017, with the unemployment rate standing at 18.80 percent, an increase of 2.60 on the figures for Q2 of the same year.
“The work can’t be completed due to budgetary releases,” Yemi Kale, who heads NBS, tweeted on Tuesday.
“It’s not hard to confirm when last we got data funding and how much.”
The statistics office is also unable to publish trade, GDP and inflation figures, Kale said.
Nigeria goes to poll to elect a president, governors and federal and state lawmakers early 2019. The inability of the statistics office to release the unemployment data was seen by some as a way of covering up for President Muhammadu Buhari.
But Kale insisted that the Nigerian government or Buhari, who is seeking reelection, does not interfere in the work of the bureau.
“Nobody has stopped me or NBS from publishing any data…neither is anybody interfering with our work.”
He said that the bureau is “lacking funds is neither news nor new.”
Kale said international aid agencies and lenders such as the World Bank, UNDP and UNODC have been responsible for the funding of some of the surveys done in the country.
He said that the NBS is broke is not deliberately and that there are other government agencies who are currently cash-strapped.
“Nbs has received only 20/25% of its data/ capital budget and about 5 months for overheads,” said on Twitter.
“This isn’t even unique to nbs. We have even gotten more than many MDAs who are on 10%. How can we produce updated data till November with 20/25% Collected? Let’s not be political with NBS.”
According to the statistics retrieved from the NBS website on Wednesday, Nigeria’s unemployment rate increased steadily between Q2 of 2016 when it stood at 13.30 percent to 18.80 in Q3 of 2017.