Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
After several failed efforts to authenticate a credible poverty rate for Nigeria, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), yesterday gave indications it would collect data on the living condition of over 20,000 households, an exercise that would cost it over $3.5 million.
Giving this indication at a Stakeholders’ Sensitisation Workshop on the Nigerian Living Standard Survey (NLSS) in Keffi, Nasarawa State, the Statistician General of the Federation, (SG), Dr Yemi Kale, said that the exercise which would start next week would be spread over 12 months and the field officers would visit the selected households monthly to obtain data from them.
“Starting from next week, trained field officers will be deployed to selected households in Enumerated Areas across the country over the next 12 months, to collect information on consumption, expenditure, assets and general living conditions.
Over twenty-two thousand selected households spread over the next 12 months starting from next week will be visited monthly by our field officers.
As you can imagine, this is expected to be a very long and tedious process, requiring the cooperation of households and communities” he pleaded.
According to him, the purpose is to generate good living standard estimates for the country with a view to correcting certain figures being thrown around.
To this effect, he said that NBS, has adjusted daily calorie threshold used in computing the poverty rate.
“If we ever needed to generate reliable and good quality information, that time is now.
We have also adjusted the daily calorie threshold used in computing the poverty rate.
In previous rounds we had used 3,000 calories per day as the minimum food intake for an individual, however in this round, 2,500 calories will be adopted as the minimum daily calorie intake.
This is so because evidence shows that 3,000 calories is high, certainly one of the highest in the world, and given the changes in our diet and food consumption pattern, 2,500, calories is more in line with present realities, not just in our African environment but world over.
The purpose of all these quality assurance measures and methodological improvements is to ensure that we collect the best possible information from the field, and in turn generate good living standard estimates for the country.
If we ever needed to generate reliable and good quality information, that time is now,” he noted.
Kale explained that the survey is necessary because of the challenges Nigeria is facing now.
Such challenges he listed include, security, socio-economic, unemployment and environmental.
“There is a lot going on right now in the country, with all the visible socio-economic challenges being experienced from the security challenges, to unemployment and environmental challenges government and partners at various levels require this kind of information to help them understand what is going on, particularly how these challenges are affecting households and communities in the country.
It will further assist them in designing policies and programmes and assist them in monitoring and evaluating existing programmes for the maximum benefit of the citizens.
Also, gone are the days when agencies of government publish poor figures and get away without questions being asked” he said.
In his remarks NBS deputy director in charge of the survey, Adebayo Tunde Adebisi, said that the survey will cost $3.5 million and about 320 surveyors, including the trainers, monitors and World Bank workers, would be deployed to various communities across the country.
“We have what is called the monitors, trainers, World Bank. Overall, we have a total of 320 staff.
Concerning money for the project, you know it is World Bank-sponsored and it is in dollars. We are to expend $3.5 million for this project,” he revealed.