Public Holidays Nigeria lost N9.74b to idle periods in 2016

About 15 national public holidays, excluding others declared in some states, were observed in the country in 2016.

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President Muhammadu Buhari play

President Muhammadu Buhari

(AFP/File)
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According to data from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Nigeria lost at least N9.74 billion as a result of multiple public holidays observed in 2016.

According to The Guardian, about 15 national public holidays, excluding others declared in some states, were observed in the country in 2016.

Data from the bureau for the fourth quarter (Q4 2016) showed that 81,151, 885 workers spent 37.38 million hours during the period to contribute N29.29 trillion to the economy at an average productivity rate of N783.51.

Working the same estimates, with the expectation that workers spend an average of eight hours of productivity daily, 15 days of public holidays at N783.51 productivity value, means N9.74 billion, representing 10 per cent of the budgetary allocation in 19 states in 2016 when assessed on individual basis, was lost to the idle periods.

State-specific holidays such as Osun-Osogbo festival in Osun state; celebration of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election in Lagos, Oyo and Osun; Edo public sector day, as well as the celebration of Islamic New Year in some northern states also contributed to this idle period around the country.

In reaction to the impact that public holidays have on the Nigerian economy, the Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Mrs. Olubunmi Osuntuyi, said, "There is the need to begin to look at our economy from every angle every second, minute, hour and day. We should always not be carried away by the situation at hand, but always do analysis of the loss to public holidays.

It is not as if in other countries they don't go for vacations, but not as many times as we do in Nigeria. The NBS should come up with a report of the losses we run per day of every vacation observed in this country. We need to know the value of each public holiday and how much we can put on it towards boosting the economy."

The Director General, Nigerian Employers Consultative Association (NECA), Olusegun Oshinowo also noted that, "As a nation we don't seem to appreciate that time is productivity, productivity is money and productivity is translated to Gross Domestic Products (GDP). The issue of excessive public holidays has to be addressed because holiday that ordinarily should be one day, for no reason that can be cited, government will declare two days.

"As a country, we need to start examining the values behind each public holiday because it reduces the capacity of the country to maximize our potential.

"I just hope that government will be able to get its hands round public holidays without succumbing to religious settlements. By now the nation ought to have taken a decision on the holidays that are necessary and the ones that are not to be able to grow the economy."

President of the Trade Union Congress (TUC), Bobboi Kaigama, also said, "It doesn’t really show that we are serious as a country, we must trim down the number of holidays.

"I know that if Nigeria was paying workers per hour, she would have realised the big loss to public holidays."

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