Isaac Anumihe, Abuja
The World Bank has called on the Federal Government to invest more on data to enable it formulate evidence-based policies. Speaking at this year’s African Statistics Day Celebration yesterday in Abuja, the Country Director, World Bank, Nigeria, Rachid Benmessaoud, who was represented by the bank’s economist, Abul Azad, said the data from different surveys are very helpful not only for policy makers but to show where tax monies are being channeled to and where investments are being directed to.
According to the Country Director, World Bank is collaborating with National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on the implementation of National Living Standard Survey.
“This survey generates data that enables a country to measure its poverty, its growth and whether its growth has been an inclusive growth or not. It means a lot in adopting a policy-making process. I think it is time for the government of Nigeria to invest more on data to regularise a lot of the surveys to help it adopt policies based on evidence,” he said.
In his remarks while declaring the event open, the Statistician General of the federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, said that economic statistics are critical in assessing the macroeconomic performance of an economy.
“Statistics on macroeconomic variables such as Gross Domestic Product (GDP), growth rate, savings, investment, interest rate, inflation, trade, unemployment, poverty, exchange rate, revenue, and money supply are needed to guide suitable decision-making process,” Kale, who was represented by Director, Real Sector and Household Statistics of NBS, Dr. Isiaka Olarewaju, said.
He described statistics as the lens through which the government can be assessed objectively and remain transparent and accountable to the people. To this end, he charged all relevant agencies to provide government with reliable and timely data to help in formulating policies as well as monitoring and evaluating key programmes/projects.
“I charge users, producers and suppliers of statistics in Nigeria to take advantage of today’s occasion to re-engineer their efforts in the production and usage of high quality official statistics”he said.
However, the Vice President of Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA), Dr Godday Ebuh expressed worry over the delay in the release of 2018 unemployment rate in Nigeria blaming it on lack of funds.
He, therefore, stressed the need for adequate and consistent funding of the statistical system by the government, private sector and the development partners.
“A situation in which we are in the fourth quarter of 2018 and the unemployment rate for Nigeria in 2018 (Q1, Q2, Q3 and Q4) are not available because of funding challenge leaves much to be desired.” he regretted.