Apparently impressed by the improvements recorded by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS)in Nigeria’s national statistical system in recent years, the Federal Government and the National Assembly have promised to continue to support the agency with more funds and other needs to sustain the standardization trajectory of the nation’s statistical data production and dissemination in the years ahead.
The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, in his keynote address during the 2021 African Statistics Day celebration in Abuja, expressed government’s satisfaction with the recent achievements of the NBS on quality data production covering all areas of the nation’s activities, saying that in view of the evidential proof of value for money in the agency, government will continue to do its best to support the agency with funds.
According to him, though government has been supporting the NBS with funds to meet its overhead costs in recent times, more efforts would be made to prioritize the agency’s funding requests in yearly budgets in view of the critical roles of statistical data to policy formulation, implementation and assessment of impacts of governance on the citizenry and national development.
He said: “My father says it is not about how you start that matters but how you end what you have set out to do. Today is the first day to visit the NBS since the new Statistician General took over and I can see the level of progress you have made to reposition the agency
“The Federal Government has been supportive of your activities by increasing your overheads in the past few months. It is also proposed in the 2022 budget to support the Bureau with N500 million to boost its power supply system. With what I have seen here today, it shows that we are getting value for the money being spent here. So, all that I can say is that you should continue with the good work”, the minister assured.
Speaking at the forum, the Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning, Senator Olubunmi Adetunmbi, who also harped on the criticality of reliable and timely produced statistical data to national development, promised that the National Assembly would be ready to support the NBS in its funding requests to standardize Nigeria’s statistical system in line with global best practices.
He assured: “I am impressed with what the NBS is doing to produce reliable statistical data covering many areas that are very important to Nigeria’s development. I have just left a programme organized by the National Population Commission where the issue of reliable statistical data was elaborately discussed. So, this shows that production and release of timely data are key to guiding our policies in order to achieve their objectives.
“Let me say that the National Assembly will readily consider your funding requests from time to time as the need arises to support your data production projects and programmes”, the lawmaker added.
Earlier in his welcome address, the Statistician General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer of the NBS, Dr. Simon Harry, had spoken about various initiatives being undertaken by the agency to improve the quality of data and timely production in line with its mandate.
Giving the background to the African Statistics Day celebration and its importance to national planning and development, the Statistician General said: “The Conference of African Ministers responsible for Economic Planning and Development during its 1990 session in Addis Ababa declared 18th November of every year as “African Statistics Day”.
“The essence of this declaration was for every member nation to observe the day with series of activities that would help to increase public awareness about the important role statistics plays in sustainable development.
“The theme of this year’s African Statistics Day is “Modernization of National Statistical System to support Socio-cultural Development in Africa’’. The need to produce high quality socio-cultural statistics for Africa’s regional and economic transformation cannot be overemphasized.
“This makes the theme of this years’ celebration timely and important to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2016 – 2030 and African Agenda 2063”, he stressed.
Harry, in a passing concluding remark, had said he was very happy that a lawmaker in the House of Representatives and the Senator graced the occasion and told Senator Adetunmbi that “Distinguished Senator, I am happy you are here and you can be sure that as soon as I drop this microphone, I will be coming to you for more funds for the NBS so that we can continue to do what you statutorily assigned us to do.”
The African Statistics Day is celebrated every year on the 18th of November to intensify the development of statistics in Africa. The day allows actors of the African statistical system to take a very critical look at the development and harmonization of statistics in Africa.