The National Bureau of Statistics recently classified Akwa Ibom state as the second highest state in the country with high level of unemployment and which a renowned don, Prof. Hilary I. Inyang, has described as a sham.
Speaking with newsmen in Uyo on Monday, the Professor of African Academy of Science Fellow, former Duke Energy Distinguished Professor of Environmental Engineering and Science and Director of the Global Institute of Energy and environmental Systems of the North Carolina Charlotte, USA, reasoned that, the NBS study was inadequate for making valid conclusions on the true status and ranking on employment rates in all states of Nigeria including Akwa Ibom State.
According to him, the flaws are much more in the interpretation and use of the result than in the ranking of data derived from the scoping study, noting that, a study that was based on a sample of less than 0.088 percent of Nigeria’s population by telephone calls was inadequate for use in rankings and appreciation of a true circumstances with employment in Nigeria.
“Earlier studies 2-8 years ago which involved larger samples ranked Akwa Ibom State among the top 50 percent in Nigeria in terms of employment and wealth distribution of her citizens. It is likely that the scoping study by its methods (telephone calls) failed to adequately sample the major fraction of Akwa Ibomites who are engaged, non-formally in agriculture 29.7 percent and trade 32.2 percent”.
Disagreeing further with the conclusions of the NBS regarding Akwa Ibom state and Nigeria as a whole, He noted, “A sample size of 18,500 households at best, [with a household population of 10 each] represents a population of 185,000 Nigerians out of a total national population of about 210 million. That ratio is [185,000/210,000,000] is 0.000881 or 0.09 percent of the total Nigerian national population and grossly inadequate as a representative sample size that can yield result on which statistically valid conclusions can be made”.
“As a matter of fact, even the scoping level estimate made by NBS is for 1 out of 4 quarters of the year and grossly inadequate for use in making general conclusion on the unemployment rate of any State, including Akwa Ibom State. It should be noted that as credibly stated by NBS, the Akwa Ibom State unemployment rate used by international agencies is 23.7%. It is highly improbable that the current level of unemployment in Akwa Ibom State would be at such variance from the international estimate as to approximately double it [45.2%] as estimated from very limited studies by NBS.
Prof. Inyang, who has served on more than 100 technical and policy panels of governments and professional societies, and has given more than 195 invited speeches and presentations on a variety of technical and policy issues at many institutions and agencies in several countries, further reasoned that, World Bank assessment of the state in 2011 ranked it 8th out of the 36 states and the Federal Capital in terms of employment , wondering what the rationale was, as there was no evidence to show that other states have implemented employment schemes that would caused Akwa Ibom state to fall from 8th position in 2011 to 36th in 2020.
He argued, “From the World Bank data, the calculated unemployment rate in Akwa Ibom State from the quoted World Bank data in 2011 was 3.026 percent. With many industries established in Akwa Ibom State within the past 8 years such that rather than decrease, employment rate has increased even taking into account enlargement of the population, Akwa Ibom State has a much smaller population than most of the other states and has established industries at a faster pace since 2011 when the quoted study was performed, and There is no catastrophe that befell Akwa Ibom State to the exclusion of other states that have been adjudged to have bypassed her.
“The 2016/2017 results of a comprehensive study by the World Bank and several international agencies indicate that Nigeria’s population in the age bracket of 15-64 years which is essentially the labour force population, is 48.8 percent of the national population. Applying this labour force percentage of 48.8% to the 2017 Akwa Ibom State projected population (0.488 x 6,170,181), a 2017 Akwa Ibom State labour force of 3,011,048. This estimated labour force was distributed in various LGAs ofAkwa Ibom State in 2017
“The same study also indicates that Akwa Ibom State ranked 17th among all the states of Nigeria in terms of the richest quintile of the wealth index. There is positive correlation between wealth and employment rate. It is inconceivable that within two years the employment rate would have degenerated to a level that puts Akwa Ibom State at the rank of number 36. Thus the NBS study has misinterpreted the result of the study which involves 35,747 households much larger than the NBS study which involved only 18,500 households”, he said.