The Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA) has identified quality statistical data as indispensable to current efforts at achieving broad-based national development on a sustainable basis.
President of the association, Dr. Mohammed Tumala, who said this at the opening ceremony of its 40th Annual Conference in Abuja, noted that though funds for data production at federal and state levels have been improving in recent years, there is need for states to do more in areas of data production that are not usually covered by national surveys.
This is even as he pointed out that improved funding of data production activities at all government agencies in federal, state and local government levels would go a long way to address some challenges policy makers encounter while formulating policies.
“Censuses, including human population, establishment, household and agriculture are essential but attract prohibitive costs. The 2017 traditional population census taking, for instance, is being planned for about N300 billion, which is almost 10 per cent of nationally collected government revenue. This adds to the burden of funding statistics production in the country.”
While noting that the establishment of the National Statistical System (NSS) by an Act of parliament in 2007 helped address some of the challenges of data production, the NSA President urged the government to move a step further by empowering Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), to produce data for their sectors.
“MDAs have the responsibilities of data production in their jurisdictions. Funding official statistics production does not therefore stop at funding the NBS and state agencies but providing all MDAs with funds to produce statistics in their sectors,” Tumala said.
He insisted that the current economic crisis has made it imperative to “produce timely and comprehensive data on all aspects of the economy.”
This is even as the statistician assured that NSA will continue to collaborate with the government to produce needed statistical data for national development.
The NSA boss also appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari to assent to the bill to establish the Chartered Institute of Statisticians of Nigeria (CISON), in order to enhance the quality of personell engaging in statistical data production at all levels of government nationwide.
Earlier during his paper presentation, the Director, Monetary Policy of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Moses Tule, had lamented the lack of commitment to quality statistical data production in the country, saying the ugly trend is undesirable for effective planning and implementation of programmes.
Using various statistical illustrations to justify his views, the finance expert pointed out that there was need for governments in the country to promote quality statistical data in governance as a strategic option of applying them in the collective drive towards reducing the socio-economic challenges in the country.