Budget Minister, stakeholders want inclusive, robust national statistical system

The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, has called for a robust, and inclusive national statistical system in Nigeria.

Bagudu said this at the National Stakeholders’ Workshop on the Production of National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) Phase III 2024-2028 in Abuja on Tuesday.

Bagudu, represented by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Neboolisa Anako, said the new NSDS would bridge existing gaps and challenges in the statistical system.

“This will set the stage for a unified, integrated, and comprehensive data production system that accurately reflects our current realities.

“It is our collective endeavour to ensure that the new NSDS not only addresses the strategic issues of the past five years but also anticipates and adapts to the evolving statistical landscape.”

He said statistics would play a vital role in assessing the implementation of the Federal Government’s Eight-Point Agenda of President Bola Tinubu led administration.

“Hence, strengthening the statistical system is paramount to evaluating the current position and subsequent progress of the current administration.”

The minister said collaboration among stakeholders could not be overemphasised in the successful implementation of the 2024-2028 NSDS.

“I would like to express my profound gratitude to all stakeholders, Development Partners, and other participants who have joined us in this endeavour.

“I look forward to witnessing the transformative impact of the NSDS Phase III on our statistical system and its vital role in Nigeria’s development, ” he said.

The Statistician-General of the Federation, Prince Adeyemi Adeniran, said the 2024-2028 NSDS would serve as a guiding light to steer the country towards a modernised and transformed statistical system.

Adeniran said some key principles were to be considered during the process of developing the new strategy.

He said the new strategy must be inclusive, catering to the needs of all segments of the society, leaving no one behind.

“This means addressing data gaps related to marginalised groups, regions, and sectors. This includes issues pertaining to gender, persons with disability and those at the local government level.”

Adeniran said another key principle was to ensure quality and accuracy of the nation’s statistical system by continuously striving for excellence in data collection, analysis, and dissemination to maintain the trust of users.

“Hence the importance of the quality of the output, soundness of the methodology and processes, and the robustness of our data sources, cannot be understated, they are extremely vital, and due attention must be paid to it.”

He said another principle of innovation and technology must be crafted in the new strategy by embracing the latest technological advancements to streamline data collection, analysis, reporting, and dissemination processes.

Adeniran said sustained investment in the development of human capital resources and partnerships with international organisations, academia, and the private sector should be at the heart of the new strategy.

“The continuous training and re-training of personnel of the statistical system, as well as opportunities for exposure and exchanges and interactions with colleagues from other statistical systems is not only desirable but should be an essential element to strategy.

“We cannot and should not continue to operate in silence, our best results and output are realised when we collaborate and partner with each other.

“So we need to be more intentional and deliberate about it, and this should form a pivotal part of the strategy in the next five years.

” I believe if we imbibe these five principles in making our contributions toward the drafting of the new NSDS, we will be doing a great service to the development of the statistical system, and to our nation.”

Utz Pape, the Lead Economist and Lead Poverty Team at the World Bank, reiterated that the bank was funding statistics to encourage all stakeholders to actually use the data.

Pape said it was important to look at the national statistical system in an integrated way.

He said the World bank not only engaged with the NBS but other Ministries, Departments and Agencies that were data players in the system, like the Ministry of Health and Education.

Pape said that it was important not to stop at the federal level but move vertically to the state level to have an integrated statistical system.

“This is why it is really important to not just think at the federal level but think about the states and how this can really become an inclusive and integrated national statistical system based on data.”

He said to ensure that data was used properly, there must be a national data system.

“A unified platform in which all the different data producers can feed in data, where different users can access the data, of course,while observing the privacy of any respondents. ”

Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi, Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs, called on the Statistician-General not to depend on the old order, but depend on a system in line with current realities.

“We must chart a way that is inclusive and come up with a more resilient and responsive statistical system that adapts to the evolving needs of our nation.

Abdullahi represented by the Deputy Committe Chairman, Sen. Kenneth Nze, said all stakeholders had a role to play in these critical economic times in order to make a change.

Rep. Ibrahim Isiaka, House Committee Chairman on National Planning and Economic Development, said it was imperative to capture the informal sectors within the economy of Nigeria in the new strategy.

Isiaka said the house was admonishing the NBS to further extend its tentacles on data on goods and products that Nigeria has comparative advantages.

He assured the NBS that the National Assembly will amend its laws to grant the bureau autonomy.

“I assure you by the special grace of God that if you want that autonomy we are going to amend that Act with the speed of light.”

There were goodwill messages from other stakeholders including Sen. Sani Shehu.

Source: News Agency of Nigeria