The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma, on Thursday explained that even though the unemployment figures released recently by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) show an increase in the unemployment rate, it is important to stress that this is not the same thing as job losses.
The Minister said that the increase in the unemployment numbers is not because jobs have not been created by the Buhari Administration but is as a result of the rate of new job creation lagging behind the rate of new entrants into the job market. He said that, as is generally known, employment growth usually slows down during a recession and takes some time to recover.
However, he gave an assurance that Government is working hard to ensure that many more jobs are created so that the rate of job creation runs much faster than the rate of new entrants to the job market.
Fielding questions from journalists and members of the public during the 2019 Budget Proposals breakdown session in Abuja, Senator Udoma stated that an examination of the NBS numbers actuallyshow that the Buhari administration has a positive net job creation record of 1,640,398.
This is exclusive of the 11.1 million persons that the NBS classifies as people who do some form of work but are considered to have worked too few hours to be officially considered as employed, he added. This means that many casual workers in farms might be amongst the 11.1 million workers who the NBS enumerators may have felt did not work for enough hours to be considered as employed; and Agriculture is an area in which the Buhari Administration has made massive strides.
The Minister was confident that as the economy continues on its upward trajectory, having come out of recession, we will see the unemployment figures coming down. This confidence, he said, is due to the strong focus that this Administration has shown in implementing the investor, and job creation friendly policies and programmes of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).
Over the next year Nigerians should expect to see a large increase in job opportunities and a consequent reduction in the overall rate of unemployment, the Minister stated.