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Accurate, Timely Data Key To Nigeria’s Economic Growth – Statistician General

Nigeria’s efforts towards achieving broad-based and cross-sectoral development on sustainable basis will not translate to remarkable success unless adequate commitment is given to accurate and timely statistical data production covering all facets of national development, the Statistician General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale, has stressed.

Dr Kale, who made this remark at the opening ceremony for the Training of Trainers for the National Business Sample Census (NBSC) 2020 organised by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Monday in Abuja, expressed delight that after over two decades of failed attempts to conduct the survey, the NBS was able, through government and the World Banks’s Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project (FGIP), able to surmount the challenges hampering the exercise and now set to commence the census.

Describing the NBSC as immensely important activity in national socio-economic planning and growth, the Statistician General pointed out the exercise was one of those he personally promised to complete before completing his tenure, adding that he is highly elated to be at the forum to witness the opening of this exercise.

The Statistician General said the information emanating from NBSC census activity, which is a first for the statistical system in Nigeria and a significant step in our quest for excellence and efficiency in statistical production, is primarily useful in understanding the nature and structure of the economy, as well as providing a sound business frame for the conduct of economic surveys in the country.

He expatiated: “The results of this exercise are particularly important for statistical operations and policymaking in Nigeria, particularly because it has not been conducted for over two decades. So, I urge all the trainers and facilitators to kindly accord it the seriousness and commitment it deserves.

“With the current economic challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the apex statistical agency in the country, we need to be at the fore in providing government with all relevant information to assist her in taking the right policy decisions, and this exercise is a very crucial part of that assignment.

“The usefulness to government and the business community of the vital information expected to come out of this exercise can only be best imagined. Aside gaining a better understanding of the changing structure of the economy, it can easily help government identify and locate establishments in different sectors of the economy for targeted support, and also, the data can be used in designing better employment generation programmes, or even boost government revenue drive by going after establishments operating under the radar.

“So, I implore you to participate fully and be sure that you equip yourselves well enough to be able to further pass on the knowledge gained and expectation required to the enumerators adequately at the state level training. No matter how much technology and efficiency we introduce into the process, if the right information is not collected in the field, the outcome of the exercise will not be sound. Therefore, your responsibility for training the fieldworkers is vital and it starts here today with your own training”, the Statistician General added.

In her remarks, the Permanent Secretary in the Budget Office of the Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Mrs. Folasade
Idowu, harped on the increasing role of accurate, timely and complete statistical data to national planning and development and charged the trainers to ensure that the knowledge gained from the programme is stepped down to those who will conduct the census on the field and by so doing, ensure the credibility of data generated from the exercise.

She restated the government’s commitment to sustainable economic growth of the country and assured the NBS management of continued to all their projects and activities that will help government achieve this objective.

The Business Census, also known as an Economic Census, is a statistical exercise that involves the enumeration of formal and informal business establishments across the country.

During this process, commercial and industrial business operations in fixed locations are listed with valuable information, including the nature of the economic activity of the establishments, the number of employees they engage, their contact details, amongst other things, are collected during the exercise.

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