The Minister of Labour and Productivity, Chris Ngige, said the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari created no fewer than seven million jobs in the first two years of the administration between May 2015 and November 2017.
The minister stated this while briefing State House correspondents after meeting with Mr. Buhari in his office in November, 2017.
"We promised jobs but what has happened is that people tried to quantify jobs in terms of white collar jobs for graduates from universities and polytechnics, but they don't want to look at the blue collar jobs.
"Agriculture and agric value chain alone have created more than 5-7 million jobs," he said.
Mr. Ngige said a lot of the jobs were created in rice farming.
"From rice tilling, harvesting, sending to the paddies, mills, and even where people are making the jute bags, transportation, people are getting jobs.
"So, that value chain alone from agric is enormous," he said.
The minister also said the government has created, "millions of jobs from the N-power scheme."
He said agencies of government such as the National Directorate of Employment, NDE, have also created jobs through skills acquisition.
He said under the NDE, the government gives beneficiaries tools to earn a living through being, "plumbers, electricians, cosmetologists, shoe makers, tilers and several other areas."
CLAIM 1: The minister's first claim here is that "Agriculture and agriculture value chain alone have created more than 5-7 million jobs." Mr. Ngige said such jobs were created in agricultural activities like rice farming.
CLAIM 2: Another claim is Mr. Ngige's statement that the government has created "millions of jobs from the N-power scheme."
VERIFICATION OF CLAIMS
The three major government agencies referenced by the minister's claims are the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural development, the National Directorate of Employment and the Social Investment Programmes (specifically N-Power)
CLAIM 1: THE 5-7 MILLION AGRICULTURE JOBS
Dubawa [using the PTCIJ reference] sent a Freedom of Information request to the ministry of agriculture, requesting data on jobs created by the ministry through the agriculture value chain. The ministry failed to provide any response, several months later.
Also, a letter to the ministry of labour requesting details of the "five to seven million jobs" was not replied.
While the two relevant ministries failed to provide any data to back up the minister's claim, the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS), the federal government's repository of data across all sectors, nevertheless offers reliable data on job creation, that is not in sync with the minister's claims.
The NBS Quarterly Job Creation Survey is a nationwide survey covering all 36 states of the federation and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) with the objective of tracking the number of jobs being created in the economy within a given period.
Its findings are categorised into three groupings of: formal sector, informal sector and public sector jobs. The formal sector data represent employment generated in establishments that employ 10 persons and above, or in formal professional services that employ less than 10 persons.
With regards to the informal sector, this represents jobs generated by individuals or businesses employing less than 10 or those businesses operating with little or no structures e.g. those in Agriculture, Light Manufacturing, Trade, etc. The public sector jobs are those created in government ministries, departments, agencies otherwise called the MDAs, such as government Parastatals, academic and research institutions at federal, state and local government levels.
Since the present administration, under President Muhammadu Buhari, was sworn in on May 29, 2015, the historically relevant NBS reading that supports its job creation claim would be the NBS 2015 second quarter data. This data outlook captured the job creation position from the second quarter of 2015 through third quarter of 2016. Since no Quarterly Job Creation Survey has been published after this date, this remains the only valid official evidence of job creation in the country.
Working through the 16 months captured by the available NBS data, it was revealed that in the second quarter of 2015 after the administration came to power, 141,368 jobs were created. In the third quarter, Q3, 2015, 475,180 jobs were created while in the last quarter, Q4, 2015, 499,521 jobs were created.
Summation of jobs created by the Buhari administration between Q2, 2015 and Q3, 2016
In the first quarter of the second year, [Q1, 2016], 79,465 jobs were created while in Q2, 2016, 155,444 jobs were created.
The last data available from the NBS was Q3, 2016 when 187,226 jobs were created.
Thus, the total jobs created in the period under review (Q2, 2015 - Q3, 2016) is 1,538,204. That is, between April 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, a total of 1.5 million (1,538,204) jobs were created across Nigeria in all sectors (including agriculture), according to NBS data.
This data shows that on the average, 256,367 jobs were created in each quarter between Q2, 2015 and Q3, 2016.
Considering that Mr. Ngige made his statement of creating "more than 5-7 million jobs," over 13 months after the last available NBS job data (Q3, 2016 which ended on September 30, 2016), an extrapolation of data offers insight on what official figures for the jobs created between Q4 of 2016 and Q4 of 2017 could be.
At an average of 256,367 jobs created quarterly since Mr. Buhari assumed office, the estimated job creation for the five quarters (Q4, 2016 to Q4, 2017) becomes 1.2 million (1,281,835).
While the 1.2 million jobs is an extrapolation, the possibility that the actual number will be more than that is low as Nigeria's economy was in recession for most of the period under review. The country only announced it had exited recession after the second quarter of 2017.
This leaves the total number of jobs created between the Q2, 2015 and Q4, 2017 as 2,820,039 (2.8 million jobs), and certainly they were not all created in the agriculture sector as Mr. Ngige had suggested.
Assuming also that all the 2.8 million jobs were created in the agriculture and agro-allied sector, it would still be a far cry from the "more than 5-7 million jobs" Mr. Ngige declared.
Therefore, claim 1 by the Labour minister that "Agriculture and agriculture value chain alone have created more than 5-7 million jobs" is therefore false.
Jobs created by Buhari's Government from 2015 till date
CLAIM 2: MILLIONS OF JOBS FROM THE N-POWER SCHEME
The N-Power is a component of the Social Investment Programme (SIP) of the Buhari administration. The SIP is a major campaign promise of President Muhammadu Buhari to provide food for school kids, pay cash to poor persons and battle unemployment.
SIP is divided into four: Home Grown School Feeding Programme for public schools; Conditional Cash Transfer to poor persons; N-Power for unemployed graduates; and the Government Enterprises Entrepreneurship Programme.
The N-Power is aimed at engaging unemployed Nigerians with a monthly stipend of N30,000. It started out in December 2016 and attracted hundreds of thousands of applications out of which only 200,000 persons were selected from across the country and currently engaged under the programme.
Even though there was another call for application early 2017, there has been no official statement on whether any of those who applied for the 2017 batch of the programme has been employed.
In terms of number of those engaged, a statement by Laolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in February 2018, stated that "200,000 volunteers were recruited nationwide while another set of 300,000 graduate volunteers have been pre-selected for the next round of the programme."
Also the website of the scheme npower.gov.ng states that only 200,000 Nigerians have been enrolled so far on the scheme.
The information from both the official website of the N-Power and the office of the vice president both show that Mr. Ngige's claim is inaccurate.
Therefore, the labour minister's claim that that the Buhari administration has created "millions of jobs from the N-Power scheme" is also false.