By James Emejo and Udora Orizu in Abuja
The Statistician General of the Federation/Chief Executive, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale Thursday assured that the days when agencies of government published poor statistical “figures and get away without questions being asked” were gone.
He noted that the public had become better enlightened as “they question and interrogate every figure or information we publish.”
Speaking at the opening of the sensitisation workshop for the conduct of the 2018/19 National Living Standard Survey (NLSS), which held in Keffi, Nasarrawa State, he harped on the need for quality data representation going forward.
He said: “As Statistician General of the Federation, I can easily estimate that, I spend about fifty percent of my working day, and sometimes weekends, explaining and defending numbers or information that we publish in NBS.
“People now want to know where we got the numbers, how we got the numbers and what the numbers mean for them as individuals, businesses or for their communities.
“While we welcome this new enthusiasm and public engagement in statistics, we also have no alternative but to do all in our powers to get the best quality numbers possible.”
He said the NLSS had become critical in view of all the visible socio-economic challenges being experienced in the country, particularly security, unemployment and environmental constraints.
He said government and partners at various levels require the household survey “to help them understand what is going on, particularly how these challenges are affecting households and communities in the country.”
“If we ever needed to generate reliable and good quality information, that time is now.”
According to the SGF, the survey which determines poverty index, was critical not just for the statistical system but also the country in general.
Kale said: “Amongst the plethora of socio-economic variables and indicators it provides, it is from this exercise that we derive statistically sound indicators for measuring poverty and inequality in Nigeria.
“It also serves as a major source of data for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda for tracking Nigeria’s attainment or otherwise, of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”
However, he said the NLSS, will for the first time be carried out using electronic means of data collection.
Also, the daily calorie threshold used in computing the poverty rate had been dropped to 2,500 from the previous 3,000 calories per day in the current exercise.
He said: “The last time this survey was carried out was 2009/2010, it’s meant to be done every five years but due to funding and some challenges we were not able to conduct it in 2014. We have been working on this for three to four years.
“It’s a year long stuff, ordinarily you will not find poverty estimation until 12 months and the reason is, as we all know we all have spending patterns at home and they are not the same every month, so we have to take the overall expenditure for the whole year so that the periods of high and low expenditures are captured.
“So it’s going to take one year for us to get the final poverty and inequality numbers. But like I mentioned earlier there are some indicators that we can publishi quarterly as we go along but the poverty numbers will not be ready until 12 months.”