Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh yesterday disclosed in writing in Parliament that the most recent available data on unemployment is in relation to 2006 and the figure was 10.7%
This revelation in answer to a series of questions from AFC MP Cathy Hughes will further perplex economists and statisticians in the wake of mounting concerns about the validity of data provided on the economy by the government and the Statistical Bureau.
For years questions have been asked about the unemployment rate and the government has been evasive on this. The admission that 2006 was the last year such a figure is available for will raise questions about why this figure and others are not compiled on a regular basis.
Hughes’ first question to Singh was whether his government or any of its agencies compile data on unemployment here.
Singh’s answer to this was that “data on the levels of unemployment is compiled by the relevant agency with appropriate periodicity”. He did not identify the agency or the frequency.
Hughes also asked for Singh to supply the National Assembly with data on the level of joblessness for each of the last 10 years.
Singh did not provide this but said that the most recent available data on unemployment is “in relation to 2006, in which year unemployment was measured at 10.7 percent”.
Hughes had also asked Singh to advise the National Assembly whether the government’s economic policies were aimed at lowering unemployment and if so what data was being utilized to evaluate the impact of those policies.
Singh’s reply was “This Government’s policies are aimed at creating jobs and reducing unemployment. Data used to assess the impact of these policies on the level of unemployment include macro statistics such as the overall unemployment rate in addition to sector-specific and project specific-data”.