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NBS and the Task of Delivering Reliable National Data

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By Okeoghene Akubuike

The role of data in the national development of a nation cannot be overemphasised, it is the bedrock on which policies that have a meaningful impact are developed and sustained

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is the agency responsible for the gathering and management of official statistics for Nigeria.

It is the authoritative source and custodian of official statistics in Nigeria.

The NBS meant to coordinate statistical operations of National Statistical System in the production of official statistics in all the Federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), State Statistical Agencies, and Local Government Councils.

The NBS responded to this in various ways, including its monthly and periodic release of socio-economic statistical data on all aspects of development in Nigeria.

However, on many occasions stakeholders have disagreed with NBS.

In 2021, then Minister of Labour, Dr Chris Ngige disputed the unemployment data in the country as released by NBS, questioning the agency’s data collation methodology.

The Labour Force Statistics report published by the agency had shown that the unemployment rate jumped from 27.1% in Q2 2020 to 33.3% in Q4 2020.

“We have a virtual meeting of the National Economic Advisory Council with the World Bank to look at Nigeria’s modalities for employment statistics data collection.

“There has been a little confusion there as to the accuracy of data generated by the NBS.

“So, we want to align everything tomorrow. The World Bank says the NBS methodology doesn’t conform with the global standard, especially the ILO format of arriving at such Employment Index.’’, he said.

He spoke while receiving the leadership of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management (CIPM) in his office.

As part of its efforts to do things better, NBS recently held a National Stakeholders’ Workshop on the Production of National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) Phase III 2024-2028 in Abuja and Uyo.

The objective of the workshop is to assess the National Statistical System (NSS) at the national and sub-national level, harness inputs and proffer recommendations for the development of NSDS.

It was held in collaboration with the World Bank under the Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project (FGIP)

The NSDS is a strategic document for the development and management of statistics.

The Statistician-General of the Federation, Mr Adeyemi Adeniran, at the workshop promised to build a stronger and more vibrant statistical system that would ensure the economic development of the country.

He said that it was crucial to forge a robust strategy to guide the growth and development of the system that would be responsible for producing the data that the country would depend on.

Adeniran who is also the Chief Executive Officer of the NBS said the 2024-2028 NSDS would serve as a guiding light to steer the country towards a modernised and transformed statistical system.

“Statistics, often hailed as the ‘silent language of governance,’ form the bedrock of an informed and thriving society. They guide policy formulation, resource allocation, and progress evaluation.

“Let us recognise that statistics go beyond mere numbers; they articulate the narrative of the situation in society, inform decisions, policies, and programmes, and pave the way for a brighter future.

“The accuracy and quality of our statistics are paramount. We must continuously strive for excellence in data collection, analysis, and dissemination to maintain the trust and confidence of our data users and policymakers.

“We will continue to work together to build a stronger and more vibrant statistical system that is capable and well-resourced to produce and facilitate the use of data in our progress toward sustainable development“, he said.

The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, said the new NSDS would bridge existing gaps and challenges in the statistical system, as he called for a robust, and inclusive national statistical system in Nigeria.

“Over the years, the NSDS has played an instrumental role in enhancing the quality, relevance, and accessibility of statistical data in Nigeria.

“It has also provided the necessary guidance for the systematic and coordinated development of statistical activities in our great nation.”

“It is our collective endeavour to ensure that the new NSDS not only addresses the strategic issues of the past five years but also anticipates and adapts to the evolving statistical landscape.”

He said that statistics would play a vital role in assessing the implementation of the Federal Government’s policies and projects.

“Hence, strengthening the statistical system is paramount to evaluating the current position and subsequent progress of the current administration”, he said.

Biyi Fafunmi, NBS’s Director, ICT, said to effectively review the last NSDS and facilitate the development of an inclusive new one, the bureau had engaged sets of consultants.

Sen. Yahaya Abdullahi, Chairman, Senate Committee on National Planning and Economic Affairs, called on the Statistician-General to deploy methodologies in data gathering and processing.

The private sector is crucial in data gathering, processing and usage and Mr Dakuku Peterside, urged NBS to ensure that its data are reliable.

Dakuku Peterside, former Director-General, Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency said `statistics is the compass that guides us in the labyrinth of national planning and development`.

“The NSDS is not just necessary but crucial, as a well-developed statistical system is essential for effective governance. It empowers policymakers with accurate and up-to-date information to make informed decisions.”

Peterside called on the NBS to pay attention to climate change in the development of the new strategy, saying that climate change has an impact in almost every sector such as health, transportation, and agriculture.

Utz Pape, the Lead Economist and Lead Poverty Team at the World Bank said it was important to look at the national statistical system in an integrated way.

According to him, it is important not to stop at the federal level but move vertically to the state level to have an integrated statistical system.

“This is why it is really important to not just think at the federal level but think about the states and how this can become an inclusive and integrated national statistical system based on data”, he said.

Prof. Olusanya Olubusoye, a professor of economics, University of Ibadan, in an inaugural lecture delivered at the University of Ibadan, had canvassed that to attain genuine national development and progress, political leaders must harness the power of statistics.

In his lecture titled “From Data to Wonders: Unlocking the Extraordinary Powers of Statistics”, Olubusoye described statistics as the golden thread that weaves through the fabric of knowledge, progress, and innovation.

The role of data and statistics in national development cannot be overemphasized. The NBS has a pivotal role to play in the availability of reliable data of every aspect of the nation.

Stakeholders agree that the NBS can achieve this through an improved, robust, inclusive, well-developed national strategy which would help build a stronger and reliable statistical system. (NANFeatures)

FEATURES

Benue: Turning Trash to Economic Boom

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By Bridget Tikyaa

Amidst challenges of unemployment and environmental degradation, the Benue State Government is taking new initiatives to not only create jobs but also provide comprehensive sustainable solutions to the threats posed to public health and the environment by the huge quantum of waste across the state.

 The innovative solutions are part of a deliberate policy of the government to turn trash to wealth and generate a boom for the economy.

The government began by setting up an agency to drive the initiatives. The Bureau of Entrepreneurship and Wealth Creation, which has Benita Shuluwa as pioneer Director General, has the mandate to initiate, develop, and execute wealth creation initiatives in alignment with the state government’s vision across the entire value chain, in collaboration with relevant government agencies, and promote innovative entrepreneurship programmes by forging partnership with the organised private sector, potential investors and technology hubs.

The Bureau is also to compile data and statistics related to employment and wealth creation, establish job registration centers and skills acquisition and capacity building programmes to advance entrepreneurship.

Its mandate also include:  accelerating intergovernmental cooperation on business development, ensuring ease of doing business and developing inclusive and sustainable partnerships with Community Based Organizations, the Legislature, Development Partners, Organised Private Sector, Central Bank of Nigeria, Bank of Industry, Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission, among others.

The government was also well intentional as it mandated the Bureau to support indigenous innovative and skilled individuals and groups to stimulate the innovation ecosystem.

Thus, one key step taken to realise this dream was the partnership agreement signed by the government with Sector Lead Limited to execute a comprehensive Waste-to-Wealth Project in the state. It is a move that will make trash from households useful, an economic treasure and a source of providing massive employment.

According to Shuluwa, the partnership will bring in more than $194 million to be spent over the coming years on enhancing environmental sustainability, creating jobs, boosting revenue, and generating 35MW electricity, biofertilizer and biogas among other derivatives.

In addition to these derivatives, the project will enable the government to be issuing Carbon Credit, reclaim and vegetate dump sites and landfills for agricultural and infrastructural gains.

No doubt, the Waste-to-Wealth project is a legacy project that will boost the economy of Benue state by turning trash into wealth thereby creating an economic boom for many residents.

The partnership is in continuation of the decisive interventions made by the government in streamlining the mining sector and its degenerative effect on the environment.

The government through the entrepreneurship Bureau began by restructuring the mining sector to derive maximum benefit from the vast mineral deposits being tapped by registered and illegal miners across the state.

It also collaborated with the Federal Ministry of Interior through the Nigerian Fire Extinguisher Scheme (NFES) to employ 1,450 with a prospect of employing up to 10,000 youth across the state, a move that has reduced unemployment.

Also important to note is the rehabilitation of ICT hubs and tailoring workshops at BENCEDI Skills Acquisition Centre to provide youth in the state with appropriate training to effortlessly key into the 21st century digital economy.

The administration of Governor Alia is no doubt pushing the boundaries, taking bold and decisive steps to make a huge difference by streamlining the Benue economy for the benefit of all, thereby advancing the state’s GDP to the top of the chart from the current 12th position in the country.

Bridget Tikyaa is the Principal Special Adviser to the Governor on Media, Publicity/Communications Strategy.

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JUDICIARY

Emirship tussle: Court rule against Kano govt, others challenging jurisdiction

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The Federal High Court sitting in Kano has on Thursday, ruled against Kano State government and others challenging the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the issue of fundamental human rights instituted by a Kano traditional holder, Aminu Babba Dan’Agundi in connection with the Emirship tussle.

Recall that the applicant, who is the traditional title holder of Sarkin Dawaki Babba of Kano emirate, Aminu Babba Dan’Agundi had approached the court seeking for enforcement of his fundamental human rights claimed to have been violated by government action in the Emirship tussle.

The respondents in the suit are Kano State Government as 1st respondent, Kano State House of Assembly (2nd), Speaker of Kano State House of Assembly (3rd), Attorney General of Kano State (4th), Kano Commissioner of Police (5th), Inspector General of Police, IGP (6th), NSCDC and DSS as 7th and 8th respondents respectively.

Delivering the ruling on jurisdiction on Thursday, the presiding judge, Justice Abdullahi M. Liman, ruled that the court has jurisdiction to entertain the matter concerning the applicant’s fundamental human rights.

Justice Liman gave the ruling relying on Section 42 sub-section 1 and Section 315 of the 1999 constitution as amended.

However, reacting to the ruling, the Counsel to the 2nd and 3rd respondents, Ibrahim Isah Wangida, said he will meet with his client to decide the next line of action whether or not they will take the option to appeal the ruling in the Court of Appeal.

Meanwhile, the judge, Justice Liman, adjourned the matter till Friday for hearing of all pending applications saying the case is too sensitive for it to be dragged for too long.

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FEATURES

Engaging Nollywood to Showcase Nigeria’s Tourism Endowment

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By Joshua Olomu

All over the world film is more than an entertainment outlet. It is used as a tool for shaping opinions, driving national narratives to the larger world and projecting a nation’s cultures, economic, technological and other advantages.

Besides its entertainment value, one area where the motion picture is intentionally applied is as a tool for global marketing and advertisement of the tourism sector.

Films are unique platforms for promoting tourism, offering a blend of entertainment and destination marketing that can captivate audiences and inspire travel.

Some of the most admired and visited tourist attractions and destinations, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris and the Great Wall of China attracted global attention through the power of the visual media.

The wonder of the screen can make tourists travel from around the world to visit the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt.

Films are powerful tools for promoting tourism by bringing destinations to life, showcasing their unique attributes, and inspiring audiences to visit the real-world locations they have seen on screen.

Nigeria’s film industry, known as Nollywood, is globally recognised as the second largest film producer in the world, turning out over 2,500 movies yearly.

It is only surpassed by Bollywood of India, even though Nollywood does not rake in as much income annually as the others, it is renowned for its rich and unique storytelling attributes.

Before COVID-19 pandemic erupted Hollywood contributed $504 billion to the U.S. GDP. The figure represents at least 3.2 per cent of the goods and services portion of GDP.

Conversely, according to a research firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Nigeria’s film industry contributed only $660 million to Nigeria’s GDP in 2021.

One of those who think Nollywood can do better in terms of revenue generation for the country is the Vice-Chancellor, University of Abuja, Prof AbdulRasheed Na’Allah.

“Nollywood can turn around the fortunes of the Nigerian economy. The government must understand that now.

“It is in the interest of the government to know that film industries are multi-million-dollar ventures. They can create wealth.

“From all over the world, people are watching Nollywood. People are beginning to know Nigeria through Nollywood.

“Is it our music, film, cultural dance, or language? We are taking the world by surprise, and because it is going to Japan, China and America, it is creating foreign reserves for Nigeria”, he said.

He spoke at a three-day conference in Abuja, yesterday, in honour of visiting lecturer, Prof Onookome Okome of the Department of English and Film Studies, University of Alberta, Canada, the VC tasked the Federal Government to support Nollywood.

Just like the Nigerian music brand, Afrobeat, Nollywood products have evolved to become global brands that are known and accepted across the world.

In recent times, the industry has produced blockbusters that have been screened in international cinemas, nominated and screened at prestigious festivals such as the Toronto Film Festival, Berlin Film Festival, Cannes Film Festival, among others.

Therefore, it can be argued that Nollywood, as one of Nigeria’s best exports to the world, has not been adequately engaged in showcasing the nation’s rich tourism potential to attract inbound tourists.

Nigeria is known for its rich historical and cultural heritage, breath-taking landscapes and diverse wildlife, which position it as a potential choice destination for tourists seeking unique experiences and adventures.

The country is home to nature tourism, with a lot of natural attractions, including lush rainforest, Savannas, wetlands and unique flora and fauna, spread across its six geopolitical zones.

This diverse ecosystem  offers interesting  activities  to tourists, such as  bird-watching,photography,star-gazing,camping,hunting,fishing,hiking and games viewing.

However, with these amazing tourism attractions spread across the country, beside various cultural fiesta and celebrations, Nigeria is yet to be classified as a global tourism destination.

In the 2019 UNTWO World Tourism Ranking, Nigeria was not among the first 10 countries in Africa, with Egypt, Morocco and South Africa standing at first, second and third positions in that order.

Primarily, this ranking is based on the number of visitors and the income generated from the sector within the period.

Perhaps, inadequate packaging, promotion and effective marketing of the nation’s tourism attractions to the global market is the major drawback to the sector, and this  is where Nollywood should be engaged by relevant authorities.

There is a need for synergy between industry players, and this is where the Nigerian Film Corporation (NFC) and the Nigerian Tourism Development Authority (NTDA) need to show political will, patriotism and commitment.

NFC has the mandate to establish a robust framework for fostering a thriving and enduring film industry and cinema culture in Nigeria, and thereby actively contributing to the socio-economic advancement of the nation.

One of the NFC’s cardinal functions is to produce films for domestic consumption and export, and this is what puts it in the best position to engage stakeholders in Nollywood.

NTDA is responsible for the planning, supervision, development and marketing of tourism in Nigeria, and it has the duty to encourage people living in Nigeria to take their holidays therein and people from abroad to visit Nigeria.

These agencies need to join hands to initiate a pilot project and engage relevant guilds in Nollywood including   the Screen Writers Association of Nigeria, Association of Movie Producers and the Actors Guild of Nigeria.

At the ideation stage of the project, a script should be written with a storyline that set historical and cultural   landmarks, parks and wildlife as locations for such a film.

Other tourist locations such as Yankari Game Reserves,  Ikogosi warm spring, Erin Ijesha water fall, Ojukwu Bunker, among others should as well  be captured.

The various cultural festivals such as Argungu Fishing Festival, Osun Osogbo Festival, the Calabar Carnival and others should be reflected in such projects.

The Federal Government, through its relevant ministries, should as well come up with an incentive mechanism for filmmakers whose projects tend to promote the nation’s tourism landscape.

These collaborations between filmmakers and tourism authorities will consequently   lead to joint marketing efforts where film trailers can be paired with tourism advertisements, and locations can offer incentives for film crews to shoot there.

There is no doubt, if well engaged, Nollywood films will introduce audiences to locations they might not have known about, effectively serving as advertisements for these places.

Such films will also highlight the cultural aspects of a location, from food and festivals to traditions and architecture, and this cultural exposure can evoke viewers’ interest in experiencing these elements first hand.

As Nollywood   films take a more dominant place on the global stage, using them to highlight the rich tourism attractions that abound in the country will create emotional connections with viewers.

This will attract both domestic and inbound tourists to locations which will ultimately bring  sustainable tourism  development and make the sector a major source of national revenue.

To be a vehicle for selling Nigeria’s tourism potential to the international community, Nollywood should take the positives from the country.

Then Speaker of House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, addressed this concern at Leadership Master Training for Nollywood Celebrities and Stakeholders training under the platform of Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN).

“Beyond the questions of economics and profit, there is the issue of the critical role of Nollywood in influencing culture, defining national character, and promoting national identity.

 “You also have a responsibility to tell the best stories of our beloved country’’, said Gbajabiamila, now Chief of Staff to President Bola Tinubu.

The Minister of Art, Culture and Creative Economy, Hannatu Musawa, acknowledges the enormity of the task but remains upbeat about what the industry can do.

“We are uniquely positioned in this great nation, endowed with an abundance of human capital and boundless possibilities.

“Our collective aim is singular, and it is bold: to position Nigeria as the world’s culture, creativity and entertainment capital“, she said.

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