Wednesday, August 24, 2016 2.22PM / Proshare Research
The National Bureau of Statistics is Nigeria’s official national statistical agency charged with the responsibility for providing statistics on a wide range of economic, social, population and environmental matters, covering government, business and the community. It also has a role, to coordinate the statistical operations of official bodies and liaise with international organisations.
The Statistics Act of 2007 makes the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) main national agency responsible for the development and management of official statistics.
This role has hitherto and up until 2011, not engendered much regards in terms of reliability, timeliness and believability of data/outcomes due to a myriad of reasons.
An assessment of the last few years, covering a political transition has shown that both local and international users of Nigerian statistics have come to place a premium on the data emanating from the NBS, data which are promptly backed by detailed breakdown, disclosure of methodology and an openness to engage stakeholders on key concerns and observations.
Today, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is easily one of the more recognized and quoted source of data regarding Nigeria by local and international analysts, market operators, economists, journalists and development agencies including international bodies such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, Development Finance Institutions as well as public service officials.
Before now, data regarding Nigeria such as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Inflation and Unemployment rate were most times stale, debatable, and often challenged by external sources if not wholly contradicted by data from other ministries and agencies on the same subject - thereby making it difficult for concrete analysis or engagement(s).
This development thus makes an interrogation of the tour of duty by Dr. Yemi Kale a worthwhile engagement in order to provide institutional history for the challenge ahead as government confronts how to use data in addressing serious economic planning issues.
As a front seat observer, we at Proshare have come to the conclusion; that the factors around leadership (at the NBS, Ministry of Planning, Ministry of Finance, CBN and the Presidency), competence, experience and professional commitment to best practice delivered this change.
The profile of the Statistician General, his pedigree, and personal principles were evidently drivers that denied the obvious gaps in the structure of the public entity, one that has held the institution back for so long; from delivering the change Nigeria needed – one that has consistently been upheld (as captured with a calendar of outputs that has largely been met).
The outcome we now see, delivered not only a brand value to the institution but made the Office of the Statistician - General a coveted position admired and aspired by many discerning professionals.
As the five (5) year tour of duty for Dr. Yemi Kale comes to a close in August 2016, we attempt a review of the tenure, key lessons in change management, innovation, organizational capacity improvement, and the possibilities that may emerge from a sustained focus on building on the goodwill garnered thus far.
As at the time of concluding and publishing this report, we do not have any indication from the Federal Government of a retention/re-appointment of Dr. Yemi Kale for another tour of duty or in the exercise of the prerogative of the President, the announcement of a new head. This action / inaction (in our estimation) does little justice to the predictability and certainty that is the NBS brand today.
Whichever decision is taken, this report should offer the leadership of the NBS, an institutional account of what has been and where the NBS can and should go – a future hinged on standards, ethics and professionalism; where a better and right-sized funding structure is in place – making it a hub of first choice for users of data, surveys, research and analytics either directly or through properly ring-fenced 3rd party arrangement(s).
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For: Proshare Editorial Board
Olufemi AWOYEMI, FCA, FIIM, FICA, ACIT