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World Statistics Day: Kale advocates sustainable funding for reliable statistical system

Mr Yemi Kale, the Statistician-General of the Federation says sustainable funding is required by the statistical system to ensure up-to-date, trusted and reliable data.

Kale made this known on Tuesday in Abuja during the commemoration of the World Statistics Day, a celebration held on Oct. 20 every five years.

According to him, the need for investment in data and statistics is further enhanced by a fast-changing data ecosystem, which is expanding to include new data sources, new data producers and a rapidly expanding set of data users.

“Furthermore, technology and big data are transforming our economies and the way we conduct our activities.

“All these changes are driving up the demand and appetite for data and with it the importance and costs of producing data in a timely fashion.

“Adequate capacity is thus required to understand this changing demand for data, the production processes involved and the application of it.”

Kale said that national statistical systems across the globe were faced with the need to ensure the capacity to effectively coordinate the new expanded statistical system to ensure that the essential principles of good statistics were maintained in the new and rapidly evolving environment.

He said that just like any productive and efficient structure, the nature of investment required for statistics must be on a continuous and sustainable basis and not on a one-off basis.

“Efforts by government and all relevant stakeholders should be synergised and harmonised in a way that allows the uninterrupted flow of resources required by the statistical system to satisfy the demands of the policymakers.

“The system in turn, must ensure that it conducts its activities and processes in a manner that is transparent and accountable to the users, adhering to the basic principles and tenets of official statistics as enshrined in the UN Statistics Charter.

“In so doing, we can have a statistical system that generates the trusted data needed to support global connectivity and linkages,” he said.

He said that the theme: “Connecting the world with data we can trust” was quite significant.

He said this was because the world today was much more connected than it had ever been in its history.

According to him, every nation is economically, socially or even culturally inter-linked in one way or the other.

Kale said that the extent of the global connectivity and the importance of statistics was further highlighted recently by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“A virus which started in Wuhan, a city in faraway China, was able to spread globally within three months, shutting down the economies of almost every country.

“With this continuous interconnectivity and the associated important role of reliable data and statistics in this development, it is therefore appropriate that we highlight and bring it to the fore.

“Up-to-date, reliable, timely and trusted data are necessary to understand the changing world in which we live.”

He itemised some of the achievements of the NBS to be fully institutionalised enhanced electronic data collection systems, switching from using paper questionnaires for data collection to using Global Positioning System (GPS) enabled Computer Assisted Personnel Interviewing System (CAPI) devices for all household data collection.

He said that the NBS had established a new Real-Time Data Monitoring and Quality Assurance System for the purpose of remote monitoring of its field data collection.

“With the use of such technology, which is sometimes supported with satellite imagery, we are now able to monitor, track the movement and activity of enumerators on the field real-time.”

According to Kale, the NBS has also enhanced its capacity for Computer Assisted Phone interview systems, partnering with the telecommunications operators to take advantage of the huge number of mobile phones owned by Nigerians.

“This is to enable very quick information on households in situations where data is needed quickly and where field workers have restrictions in movement,’’ he said.

He said that the NBS was also working with relevant stakeholders in the system on an initiative called the Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development (GRID-3).

He said the aim of GRID-3 was to facilitate the production, collection, use and dissemination of high-resolution population, infrastructure and other reference data points to support its national and sub-national development priorities.

“On completion, the project will significantly enhance sample selection procedures, streamlining it and making it much more robust in its coverage, thereby, further improving the quality and precision of data produced,’’ he said.

The World Statistics Day highlights the value of statistics in meeting present day challenges. 

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