The Statistician-General of the Federation, Dr Yemi Kale, has said that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) will in 2017 start posting statisticians to Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to strengthen statistical activities.
Kale in an interview in Abuja on Friday stated that transfers in the civil service had been affecting most of the trained and experienced staff in the MDAs.
He said the issue had been one of the major challenges affecting capacity building in the bureau.
“When NBS trained a lot of statisticians in the MDAs and the states, you will see that after a month, they will be posted from their office.
“We train them and they move to somewhere and another set of people come again. We have to train them again.
“That is why the statistical law prescribes that NBS will send its own staff to these agencies.
“What we intend to do in 2017 is the posting of our staff to these agencies so that this process will not be lost when these people are changed or moved around,’’ Kale said.
The Statistician-General said that 80 per cent of the challenges of the bureau was funding.
He said that the system was still manual and still received small budget compared to developed countries that had succeeded in computerising their systems.
“Our funding comes as 400,000 or 500, 000 dollars; compare it with the South Africa that has a budget of 20 million dollars.
“I don’t want to talk about the US whose budget is going to billions of dollars.
“These are countries whose statistical system is more technologically connected than ours, yet they still spend so much money on theirs.
“We are maximising the money and trying to produce a credible and useful data and any data we don’t have, it is because we are not funded to have it,’’ he said.
He said that the bureau had also been creating awareness for the state and Federal MDAs on the importance of data.
“We have noticed that many states and even MDAs at the Federal level don’t have strong statistical units, and because of that, NBS is overburdened.
“The way it is supposed to happen is that those units are supposed to be producing their data while NBS is supposed to collate this data.
“ But, many states don’t have functioning statistical units, so the NBS is overburdened, trying to do to the field work and spend a lot of money trying to get this data,’’ he said.
The statistician-general, however, said that the bureau would build the capacity of state MDAs by taking them to field work to get first-hand experience on data gathering
“We have adopted several steps to improve their capacity.
“We have a compendium of statistical terms that basically tell each MDA this is the kind of statistics you are supposed to be collecting.
“We have helped 12 states to produced state Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or other data from household survey; they called us to send our staff and to help them.
“The idea is to build capacity. When the results are seen and the state executives see the number, they start getting more interested in data,’’ he said.