Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Tuesday that it has devised a way to use the huge number of mobile phones owned by Nigerians to obtain quick information on households.
In his keynote address on the World Statistics Day Celebration, 2020, in Abuja, the Statistician-General, Dr Yemi Kale, said that in situations where data is needed quickly and where field workers have restrictions in movement, mobile phones have been used to conduct surveys.
This, he said, has also been helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic which made it possible to keep working during the lockdown period and the need for social distancing.
‘We have also enhanced our capacity for Computer-Assisted Phone Interview systems, partnering with telecommunication operators to take advantage of the huge number of mobile phones owned by Nigerians to get very quick information on households in situations where data is needed quickly and where our field workers have restrictions in movement. This has particularly been helpful during the pandemic and enabled us to keep working during the lockdown period and the need for social distancing,’ he said.
According to the Statistician-General, the NBS has also established a new real-time data monitoring and quality assurance system for the purpose of remote monitoring of the field data collection.
‘With the use of such technology which is sometimes supported with satellite imagery, we are now able to monitor and track the movement and activity of enumerators on the field real-time,’ he said.
Kale said that the government has fully institutionalised enhanced electronic data collection systems, switching from using paper questionnaires for data collection to GPS-enabled computer assisted personnel interviewing system (CAPI) devices for all household data collection.
According to him, this has proved to be more efficient in providing better data quality that can be trusted for policymaking.
With the use of such technology, he said, NBS can now monitor and track the movement and activity of enumerators on the field real-time.
‘This system has been utilised for major important projects like the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS-5) in 2017, the National Living Standards Survey 2018/2019, the ongoing National Business Sample Census (NBSC). It will also be used for the National Agriculture Sample Census scheduled early next year,’ he said.
In her remarks, President, Nigerian Economic Society, Professor Sarah Anyanwu, stated the need to fund statistics that would help to generate reliable data.