By Cecilia Ologunagba
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said that the country saw a rise in labour productivity in the fourth quarter of 2016, the highest levels since first quarter of 2015.
The NBS said this in its Labour Productivity for Fourth Quarter of 2016 Report released on Thursday in Abuja.
The bureau stated that while the overall level of productivity was high, there were several challenges that generally impacted on the output of labour, and indirectly on labour productivity, keeping it below optimal levels.
It stated that some of the issues faced during the quarter spilled over from first quarter through third quarter of 2016.
Some of the issues were the decline in the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), high unemployment rate and infrastructural challenges.
Nigeria economy, though showing signs of recovery, recorded its 4th consecutive quarter of negative growth in the fourth quarter of 2016, with the economy declining by 1.58 per cent.
The constraints on productivity of labour and other factor inputs continued to put a drag on overall economic growth and this was further exacerbated in the fourth quarter of 2016.
A growing unemployment rate of 14.2 per cent in the quarter, up from 13.9 per cent in the third quarter of 2016, coupled with existing infrastructural challenges, remain considerable threats to realising Nigeria’s full economic and productivity potential.
The bureau, however, stated that investment in the economy was still relatively low, though some government investments were recorded during the quarter.
According to the report, the volume of private investment and Foreign Direct Investments (FDIs) are still considerably low compared to previous years.
The NBS said tha power was relatively stable during the quarter, which partly accounted for the increase in labour productivity but was still lower than the required levels.
The bureau stated that the growth in labour productivity implied a gradual increase in labour efficiency employed in the economy, the third consecutive quarterly rise.
It stated that the nature of productivity in the fourth quarter also gave an idea of the main drivers of the growth in labour productivity.
The report, noted that the agriculture sector was the main driver which recorded a growth of 3.39 per cent.
According to the report, the percentage was the highest among any major economic activity, with parts of the fourth quarter being the harvest season in the Nigerian agricultural calendar.
This, the report stated may well have added to the growth in labour productivity in fourth quarter of 2016.
It stated that other major activities that contributed to productivity during the quarter were transportation and the creative sectors of the economy.
The report stated that though both activities were relatively low weights compared to other activities like agriculture.
It stated that their strong growth during the quarter and the high number of labour they engaged would have contributed to the labour productivity during the quarter.
The report further showed the annual trend in total GDP, number of hours worked as well as the derived labour productivity for the period 2011 to 2016.
It stated that labour productivity increased by 9.8 per cent on quarterly basis and 10.8 per cent year-on- year in the period under review.