From Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
Statistician General of the Federation (SG), Prince Adeyemi Adeniran, at the weekend, disclosed that the Nigeria’s National Development Plan 2021 – 2025, will offer 21 million Nigerians full-time jobs and lift 35 million people out of poverty.
Adeniran said this in Keffi, Nassarawa State, at the 26th annual conference of the National Statistical Association (NSA).
He also explained that the plan would grow the economy to an average of 4.6 per cent and raise the revenue to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) ratio from the current 6 per cent to 15 per cent.
In addition to that, the plan would raise the revenue to Gross Domestic Products (GDP) ratio from the current 6 per cent, to 15 per cent.
However, he said, these milestones would not be realised without statistics.
” It is the data we generate through our various systems of statistical production (surveys, censuses, administrative systems, or big data) that will inform the policymakers of their successes or otherwise in the implementation of all these plans” he said.
But the SG lamented that the spate of insecurity is undermining the quality of data being produced by the bureau to the extent that many National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) staff have been kidnapped and attacked.
“As I earlier pointed out, the wave of insecurity challenging the country is affecting all sectors, including the statistical system. I believe this effect can be categorised directly and indirectly. First, the insecurity affects directly by impeding on our field operations. While we are increasingly generating a lot more administrative data, a significant proportion of statistics produced, approximately 60-70 per cent in NBS, is produced from surveys, census, or field data collection. This as you know, involves sending enumerators across the nooks and crannies of the country—-very often to remote areas and difficult terrains. The insecurity poses a serious challenge for the system in this regard, as several cases of attacks on the field staff, robbery and theft of survey equipment, and kidnappings have been recorded.
“Also, there have been increasing numbers of inaccessible areas in parts of the country where enumerators are not able to go in for data collection. As an example, under a school-based exercise recently undertaken by NBS, head teachers and facilitators had to leave their communities and meet up with enumerators at the headquarters of the local government for interviews to be conducted, because those communities were unsafe to visit.
“While this could be done for a school-based exercise, it will be impractical to do it under a household-based or establishment-based survey. All these disruptions to field operations, when carefully considered, can result in significant additional costs to the budget, and heavily impact on the lean finances within the system. So, in direct terms, you are looking at the safety of lives and equipment, disruptions to the field processes which have significant financial implications and possible data quality issues, if not properly checked.
“Indirectly, there are also effects on the statistical system from the wave of insecurity. In a situation where security is challenged, every other sector takes a backseat. There are severe economic losses that occur within an insecure environment” he said.
According to a report by the UNDP, he said, global economic losses due to terrorism and insecurity reached $52 billion in 2017, and $119 billion in Africa, between 2007 and 2016.
“Nigeria is certainly no different, with each sector of the economy and socio-economic group, including the statistical system competing for resources to drive the growth and development of their respective sectors, each will have to take a backseat in the order of priority as security becomes the focus and attention of government” he noted.
Declaring the conference open, the Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba alluded that security challenge is a threat to national development because security is the pillar upon which every meaningful development in any nation is sustained.
“Security challenges in any environment constitute a threat to lives and properties; hinders business activities, discourages local and foreign investors and retards socio-economic development of a country. There is no doubt that security is the pillar upon which every meaningful development in any nation is sustained. However, there is no nation in the world without a security challenge, but the type of insecurity experienced among the nations and the way it is confronted differs” he submitted.