NBS produced over 120 reports despite low funding, COVID-19 – Kale

Nigeria’s Statistician-General and Chief Executive Officer of the National Bureau of Statistics, Dr Yemi Kale, said on Monday that the NBS had produced 120 different statistical reports despite “funding and COVID-19 disruptions’.

Kale said this at the meeting of the National Consultative Committee on Statistics in Nassarawa State.

He said the challenges facing the statistical system had been further compounded by the current situation, with restricted vehicular movements and limited face-to-face communication).

“It also calls on us to be more adaptable, innovative and enterprising, and more willing to explore beyond 4 our comfort zones,” he said.

According to Kale, tackling the challenges requires a better understanding of the emerging data ecosystem, the role of the statistical system in this changing data ecosystem, as well as the need to have a robust and responsive system.

He said, “It is quite clear that low funding for statistical activities remains a major challenge to the development of the Nigerian Statistics System.

“Moreover, in cases of public emergencies, the temptation to implement large scale interventions in a hurry, with little attention to data and statistics, is always present.”

He said the NBS had continued to work tirelessly to meet its statutory mandate and the ever-growing demand for data to make evidence-based decisions “despite a low statistics funding environment”.

Kale said, “While we recognise and accept that we are not where we want to be yet, we are nevertheless encouraged that we have made significant strides and improvements in many areas of our work and this fact has been recognized both locally and internationally.

“Notably, despite funding and COVID-19 pandemic disruptions, we still produced over 120 different statistical reports with over 1,000 indicators, we still logged over 800,000 visits to our website, and recorded over 170,000 downloads for the published reports.”

According to him, there is an increasing endogenous and exogenous demand and appetite for data and the NBS is capable of meeting these demands, the prevailing circumstances notwithstanding.

Kale noted that the statistics office, in collaboration with various partners, created and launched a new portal for disseminating COVID-related data to assist government and the public in tracking the spread and gauging its socio-economic effects on households.

He said, “Equally noteworthy here is the National Business Sample Survey, a major undertaking that is long overdue (after 30 years) which seeks to provide necessary data to guide policymakers not only in setting sectoral policy, but will also inform the new Medium-Term National Development Plan to succeed Vision 20:2020 and the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“We also have plans to undertake the National Agriculture Sample Census early 2021. All these point to our desire to rise to the occasion, to meet the needs of the moment, and support the policymaking process through accurate, timely and relevant data.”

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