The All Progressives Congress, Akwa Ibom State chapter, has described the unemployment report by the National Bureau of Statistics on the State as not only embarrassing but the most depressing economic data ever recorded in the 33 years of the state’s history.
The NBS in its report on Friday listed Imo as the state with the highest unemployment rate while Akwa Ibom followed as the second-highest having 45.2% of its population unemployed.
But the state government in a statement signed by the Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Ini Ememobong faulted the report saying that NBS report did not reflect the reality in Akwa Ibom State.
The State government wondered how a peaceful State with the influx of investors and new industries could be listed as a second highest state with unemployment, noting that it would subject the data to scrutiny to ascertain the veracity of the report.
“The reality on the ground in our state is in contradiction to the Bureau’s report. A juxtaposition of the said report with the reality of the existence and operation of the numerous industries in our state, the recruitment into the civil and public service, Public-Private Partnership initiatives, the award of direct Labour contracts, our airline and general aviation businesses, qualitative cash support and interest-free loans to entrepreneurs, financial and input support to farmers; the obvious conclusion will confirm that indeed the current administration has created quality jobs in an unprecedented manner
“As a responsible government, we intend to engage the National Bureau of Statistics, to ascertain the veracity of their processes and result.” The State government statement read in parts.
However, the APC Publicity Secretary in the state, Nkereuwem Enyongekere in a statement tagged ‘Another damning report on Akwa Ibom unemployment crisis,’ sent to Newspot on Sunday queried why a State with the highest oil revenue should be bedevilled with unemployment?
The opposition party in the State ascribed the reported high unemployment rate in the State to corruption, mismanagement of resources and setting of wrong priorities.
Buttressing its claims of wrong priorities, the State APC said the monies expended in the building of worship centre, 21 storey building and the new governor’s lodge at Ikoyi, Lagos State should have been channelled into agribusiness and other avenues that would create employment to the teeming youths.
Enyongekere said, “Akwa Ibom people have just been reminded of their dire and miserable socioeconomic status with a report from the Nigerian Bureau Statistics yesterday that their state has the second-highest unemployment rate in the country: a whopping 45.2%, translating to 1.14 million people. The state’s underemployed population, according to the same statistics, is about 551,000, while both the underemployment rate and unemployment rate is 66.9%.
When Mr. Udom Emmanuel took over as governor in 2015, we were the 12th position in WAEC performance. Last year, we fell to the 17th position. How can our state be recording this poor Human Development Index (HDI) when we are raking in so much income? Where is our money going?
“Our Party believes that the major causes of these depressing and poor standards of living among our people are the mismanagement of our resources, wrong priorities of the government and in many cases outright executive incompetence. Intertwined in all these is the matter of corruption. This administration has the wrong priorities.
“We have read the lame and vapid response to the NBS statistics that was hurriedly issued by Mr. Iniobong Emembobng, the new Information Commissioner, this afternoon. In a press statement, the Commissioner noted that the NBS is wrong in its report because the government has been creating jobs through its cottage enterprises – what they ignorantly refer to as ‘industries’.
“The issue of underemployment is so sad. It is visible in the minibus drivers and tricycle operators on our roads who are university graduates that finished NYSC for over 10 years but could not find decent employment. We challenge the commissioner and his boss to direct them to the so-called ‘industries’ the government has built.”