Dignitaries at the unveiling of a baseline data book (Nigeria in Figures) to aid Nigerias planning process
By Rukayat Moisemhe
Chief Economist, Analysts Data Services and Resources (ADSR), Dr Afolabi Olowookere, has unveiled a baseline data book (Nigeria in Figures) to aid Nigerias planning process and drive socioeconomic growth and development.
Olowookere, during the book launch on Thursday in Lagos, said Nigeria in Figures was presented as a reference data book to guide the measurement and assessment of Nigerias socioeconomic performance over time.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the theme of the event was, Nigerias Socio-Economic Performance since 1999: Lessons for New Policymakers.
According to the economist, the book provides evidence-based inputs into the discussions, analysis and planning by policymakers, researchers, businesses and other key stakeholders in the country.
He stated that the data book specifically showed the countrys relative performance against selected comparator countries providing detailed sources and description of relevant data.
Olowookere described the data book as a must have for the new government, particularly as the availability of these baseline data would afford Nigeria the opportunity to benchmark itself among top global countries.
The Nigerian economy is changing and we have a new government that would need the data that scores performance of democracy from 1999 till date to aid its policy planning processes.
This book presents in a comprehensive manner data at national, regional and state levels and describes the development, challenges and policies of different sectors.
More often than not, Nigerians complain about the unavailability of data but we have lots of data in different sources such as libraries, bookshelves of many professors among other places, said Olowookere.
He said he had put together all the data from different places, across different sectors in a single and simple source called Nigeria in Figures (A socioeconomic data book) even though his goal was to have the largest database in Africa.
The data was collated across different key sectors of the economy and has compared the data from 1999 till date to provide background information aimed at driving socioeconomic growth and development.
Alongside the data presentation, economic policies, trends, and development across different sectors of the economy are collated into a single source for easy access to provide insights for policymakers, he said.
In her remarks, Mrs Toyin Sanni, Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Emerging Africa Group, stated that access to such data would help align policies and initiatives that would aid private sector development.
According to Sanni, the private sector, though very dynamic and entrepreneurial, has been crippled by unfavourable policies and environment, which does not give room from planning.
She stressed that henceforth, the private sector should be brought in during policy creation, infrastructural development discussion, among others, for improved economic growth and development.
Policy environment needs to change, infrastructure needs to be tackled and we need to know the initiatives that would ameliorate the impact of subsidy removal on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME).
I am looking forward to some of these savings directed to stimulate MSME growth, healthcare, education, and security not just doling out cash to anybody, she said.
Dr Chukwuka Onyekwena, Executive Director, Centre for the Study of the Economies of Africa(CSEA), emphasised the need to mobilise resources towards education, agriculture and health sectors to promote socioeconomic stability.
He said for Nigeria to fulfil its socioeconomic objectives by 2050, the human capital must be developed by investing in sectors that directly impacted their development.
This can be achieved by freeing up resources spent on things that are not urgent and channel same to those that impact the citizens directly.
I suggest there should be expansion of vocational training and Nigeria must develop rural areas via rural infrastructure and ensure agricultural intervention programmes to drive economic growth and development, he said.
Dr Suleyman Ndanusa, CEO, Global Mandate Consulting, said the data book was a massive and excellent undertaking by the author who has succeeded in creating a data encyclopedia on Nigeria.
He, however, emphasised the need for government to embrace measures that would help earn the trust and build the confidence of Nigerians in its abilities.
He noted that citizens needed to have confidence in the government to do what was fair and right and that trust was essential in a free and democratic environment.
People are not willing to trust government, and when citizens lack trust, they are less likely to comply with laws and regulations.
The challenges a country would face when they are building trust include people saying things that foster disunity along religious and tribal sentiments causing insecurity.
Government needs to fulfil socioeconomic promises to build the trust of the citizens and the top priority area for the new government is good governance and discipline to perform its social contract, he said.
Prof Olu Ajakaiye, Executive Chairman, African Centre for Shared Development Capacity Building, said Nigeria in Figures offered comprehensive coverage of the key social and economic development indicators.
He stated that it would be particularly useful for policymakers at all levels of government. (NAN)(www.nannews.ng)
Edited by Abdulfatai Beki/Salif Atojoko
Source: NAN News