FDC reports query Nigeria’s unemployment data

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Nigeria – Natural wealth, Yes; Produced wealth, No

(unemployment data raises more questions than answers)

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If we were bagging Nigeria’s recent unemployment numbers, the price tag would carry the caption: All that glitters is not gold. This way, the buyer is aware that there’s more to the product than meets the eye.

The NBS’ latest Labour Force Statistics (LFS) report places Nigeria’s unemployment rate at 4.1% using the new methodology that includes any individual who has worked for at least one hour in a week as employed. The illusion the data creates is that only 3 million of Nigeria’s 72 million working population is unemployed. In reality, 133 million people are multi-dimensionally poor, lacking the adequate income to meet their necessities.

Nigeria’s working population faces the crisis of working poverty, a situation where the employed do not earn a living wage. An average Nigerian who earns the minimum wage of N30,000 and does not have any dependents will have to work 11 hours per day to escape poverty. If he has four dependents, he will need to work 57 hours per day to escape poverty.

Data integrity + timeliness = informed policy action

The value of data lies not in its volume or magnitude but in its integrity and timeliness. Without data integrity, policymakers risk implementing policies based on flawed or incomplete information, leading to suboptimal outcomes and potential harm to society. International and domestic investors rely on trustworthy data when making investment decisions. If data integrity is compromised, it can erode investor confidence, potentially deterring investments vital for economic growth and job creation. Although massaging data could yield temporary relief, the creation of decent jobs requires an investment-led growth strategy.

From flare to fortune

Gas flaring has far-reaching impacts on society and the economy, impacting human health, climate change, and energy security. Besides posing health risks, gas flaring is tearing a deep hole in the pocket of the Nigerian government. In July 2023 alone, Nigeria lost N34.1 billion to gas flaring, a significant loss for a nation grappling with fiscal constraints and declining oil revenue. To address this issue, Nigeria can learn from Colombia’s successful efforts to tackle gas flaring challenges.

In this edition of the FDC Whispers, the Think Tank delves into an in-depth analysis of recent economic developments in Nigeria’s money, equities, forex, and commodities markets and provides an outlook for the coming weeks.