The special assistant to the president on media and publicity, Garba Shehu and Yemi Kale, the statistician-general of the federation, have disagreed over methods of tracking job creation and unemployment numbers in Nigeria.
Speaking onSunrise Daily, a programme on Channels television, Shehu said Kale, who doubles as the CEO of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), told the Federal Executive Council that the NBS concentrates on white collar jobs when preparing its jobs report.
“The NBS chief had addressed the federal cabinet and he made the admission that they had concentrated analysis over time on white collar jobs that they had not taken cognisance of job creation in areas of agriculture,” Shehu said.
“The rice farmers association of Nigeria made the open claim and nobody has challenged them up to the time that we speak that they had created 12m new jobs.
“When he finished addressing the federal cabinet last week, the government asked the DG of the NBS, go out there and tell Nigerian public, you are just telling us now that Kebbi and Ebonyi are reporting the lowest unemployment rate in the country on account of agriculture.”
The Presidential media aide added: “So, I think the data collected on the bases of which some of the judgement has been passed that is misleading,” Shehu added.
“The data has been unfair to this administration; they had ignored job creation in the area of agriculture. If you are talking about job losses, no, we have created at least 12m new jobs in the area of agriculture.”
However, when the claims were brought to the attention of the NBS boss on Twitter, he said he made no such submissions to anybody at any time.
His words: “Assuming what you claim was said was actually said then I make it very clear that neither the statistician-general nor NBS ever made any such admission at any time to anybody,” Kale said.
“The unemployment computations does take into account all sectors, age groups, and both rural and urban areas.”
Apparently displeased by his denial, Shehu said he spoke of a very bright jobs creation by the Muhammadu Buhari administration, adding that he said nothing wrong.
His words: “There is nothing wrong with what I said on sunrise daily now, this morning. I spoke about the very bright picture of jobs created by the Buhari administration Mr Yemi Kale gave last week.
“That impressive report on jobs created in agriculture showed that rice-growing states like Jigawa, Ebonyi and Kebbi had the lowest unemployment.
“Mr President, who had complained many times about employment figures reflecting mostly white collar jobs and therefore unfairly underplaying the millions of jobs his administration has created in the farms must have felt a sense of vindication.
“The response by the government was, go and put this out, address a world press conference to correct the wrong impression for all to know how well we are doing in creating jobs. We hope there will soon be a date for that press conference.”