No Money, No Jobless Data, Nigeria's Chief Statistician Says

(Bloomberg) -- Nigeria hasn’t released official unemployment data for more than a year because of a lack of money at the statistics office.

Work on the nation’s jobless figures, the most recent of which are for the third quarter of last year, “can’t be completed due to budgetary releases,” Statistician-General Yemi Kale said Tuesday on Twitter. It’s got nothing to do with massaging the numbers or hiding bad news before elections in February, he insisted.

“U guys need to stop this,” Kale said in response to speculation about why the data hasn’t been published. “I know it’s election time but I’ve said this repeatedly. Nobody is calling me to manipulate any data or not to release any data.”

Unemployment in Africa’s most-populous nation of almost 200 million people stood at 18.8 percent in the third quarter of last year, the highest since at least 2010. The official rate has more than doubled since 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari, who will seek re-election in February, came to power.

No Money, No Jobless Data, Nigeria's Chief Statistician Says

While Kale said on Twitter it’s “not hard to confirm when last we got data funding and how much,” calls to his mobile phone didn’t connect and he didn’t immediately respond to an email seeking further information.

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