All Progressives Congress (APC) has asked Akwa Ibom State government to effectively deal with the unproportionally high rate of unemployment and underemployment based on the 2020 report by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBC)
NBC in the said report had rated Akwa Ibom with the second highest unemployment rate in the country at 45.2%, translating to 1.14 million people, with about 551,000 people underemployed, while both the underemployment rate and unemployment rate was 66.9%.
But the state government had hit back at the NBC that the reality on ground in the state is in contradistinction to the 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, 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.
“This reality is not attempting to deny the existence of unemployment-which is a global phenomenon worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
In a release signed by the state commissioner for information and strategies, Mr Ini Ememobong. the sate questioned the sample size of the survey, the spatial spread of the sample, the population used to obtain the percentage, the quality assurance mechanisms used, the temporal spread of the data used in the analysis, and the agencies of the state government that data were sourced.
But reacting to the release, in a counter press release, the state chapter of the APC, through its publicity secretary, Mr Nkereuwem Enyongekere, described the report as the most embarrassing and depressing economic data that has ever been recorded for the state in its 33–year history, especially as it comes at a time the stare is the highest earner of oil revenue.
“We are compelled to ask the state government to explain this paradox. We should note that unemployment is not our only scourge. Akwa Ibom has the second highest HIV/AIDS prevalence is the country and is sliding down the ladder in students’ performance in WAEC and other external examinations. 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 wrong priorities.
While emphasizing that the state established industries , which called “cottage enterprises” cannot provide employment for the teeming unemployed graduate who had since taken to commercial tricycle and mini-bus driving to survive, APC, taunted the state government to “to direct them (graduates) to the so-called ‘industries’ the government has built.”
“Akwa Ibom APC sympathizes with Akwa Ibom people for the punishment and torture they have endured in the last five years of the Udom Emmanuel administration. Truly, elections have consequences, either way.” The party said.