The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) on Tuesday signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) as part of its collaborative initiatives with stakeholders in the nation’s political economy to enhance the nation’s statistical system.
In his remarks during the pact with the NPA, the Statistician General of the Federation, Dr. Yemi Kale expressed delight that the long-awaited collaboration between the NBS and the NPA, aimed at producing statistical information and data analytics on port related activities, can now be fully commenced.
Noting that data and statistics play an immensely important role in the management of any economy, the Statistician General pointed out that the NBS as the foremost organisation responsible for the production, management, and dissemination of official data in the country, had always been keen on providing the public, government, and policy makers, with useful and reliable statistics for designing and implementing their policies and programs across the country.
Kale explained that the NPA being a critical agency to the development of the transportation and storage sector of our economy, and a major vehicle for boosting trade activities in Nigeria, the signing of the MoU between it and the NBS would add value to the nation’s economy.
Specifically, he pointed out that with the recent signing of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), the prospects for increased trading and storage activities are huge and expected to grow significantly in the coming years, despite the COVID pandemic, adding that in view of the generation and dissemination more granular information on these activities, policymakers and managers within the sector would be fully equipped with the right tools and evidence to do their work.
In addition, he said that the collaboration between the NBS and the NPA would further provide a sound basis for operators and potential investors in the sector to make informed decisions on how to participate and take advantage of opportunities available within the sector.
The Statistician General elaborated: “So, for us as a data producing agency, we are extremely excited about this collaboration. The output from this effort will contribute to the growing array of statistics produced by the statistical system in Nigeria, and also shed more light on the important work that you do in administering port activities in Nigeria. I am sure I speak the mind of everyone in NBS by saying that we eagerly look forward to the output of this work we are embarking on, and also, look forward to learning more and building our capacity and knowledge around your work and the wider transportation and storage sector in Nigeria
“ I wish to conclude by stating unequivocally, our full commitment and dedication to the success of this partnership entered into today. We will devote all necessary resources to ensure that the aims and aspirations of this cooperation are completely realised, for the benefit of our country. With the commitment and professionalism displayed by both teams so far, I have no doubt in my mind that this will be achieved”, Kale added.
In her remarks, the Managing Director of Nigerian Ports Authority, Mrs Hadiza Bala Usman, thanked the NBS’ management on its readiness to provide all the needed support for her agency in its data gathering and management efforts and assured that her team would commit all the needed time and resources to the implementation of the MoU in view of its potential benefits to the nation’s economy.
Specifically, she canvassed the need for immediate automation of the NPA statistical data generation and processing through the support of the NBS, describing the automation project as key to the NPA’s management to improve the efficiency, transparency and dependability of all data relating to the ports’ operations.
The NPA boss said: “The recognition of data as the major driver of modern corporate intelligence formed the basis of this collaboration.
“The deliverables of the collaboration include the development of inter-agency links, which bridges identifiable gaps by collaborating in streamlining the processes of Data exchange, gathering, cleaning, analysis, storage, archiving, retrieval and dissemination; Joint capacity building in the areas of Data Analytics and Management; and Sharing of expertise in the latest methods of data management through the adoption of modern tools such as Applied Statistics, Data Science, Deep Learning etc.
“Others are, the Creation of joint data verification mechanisms in order to have feedback on data outputs; Streamline and update the existing data modules that are captured in the NBS Compendium of Statistical Terms; and Identification of other areas of interest for both NPA and NBS.
“The benefits of the deliverables to the NPA include timely access to NBS Database for Planning, Research, Monitoring, Projections and Reporting, sustainable synergy with NBS, capacity building for officers, real time metrics for Port Industry on Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) etc.
“For the NBS, the benefits include up to date trade information as related to port operations, updating the data heads specific to Port Operations in their compendium of Statistics and broadening of the scope of Maritime data to be collected.
“In order to achieve the set goals as stated above, there are plans to implement real-time data exchange through interconnectivity of data network facilities of both the NBS and the NPA and develop Capacity Building Training Programs.
“In conclusion, we promise that the NBS would get the full cooperation of the Management of the NPA through the Corporate & Strategic Planning Division, which we are empowering through full digitalization of its business processes. With these set goals, it is our belief that the two agencies would be able to benefit more, from the initiative and improve on the dissemination of their core businesses”, Usman assured.