Every country needs to describe its social, demographic, economic and environmental conditions to create knowledge on society which is a prerequisite for forming an opinion and making political decisions on a sound basis. Statistics is an indispensable tool for national development, growth, and planning. Governments without viable infrastructure for information generation, dissemination and usage are severely handicapped in doing proper planning, monitoring and evaluation of development programs and projects and also in arriving at good decisions with respect to government policy formation. Reliable, independent and trustworthy information on all aspects of society is therefore needed for policymakers to make evidence-based planning and policy decisions, researchers to analyze society and citizens to form opinions and hold government accountable for their actions. Simply put, good statistics lays the foundation for good governance and democratic society. Citizens will be able to hold their government accountable, civil society can use freely and easily accessible information as a sound basis for their advocacy work. Furthermore, the success of Development Plans is measured by the quantum of data, information, and indicators of the society that are available. Statistics lie in the core of development planning and the absence of such data makes it impossible to ensure future development and welfare of the society.

In Nigeria, a number of policy initiatives have been developed into strategies and Action Plans, prominent among which are National Economic Empowerment and
Development Strategy (NEEDS) at the federal level and in states, State Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (SEEDS), the 7 point agenda, Vision 20:20:20 in which Nigeria aspires to be among the top 20 economies by 2020, and just recently Eradication of Corruption. All these national aspirations come to nothing without good statistics. This is because no meaningful development can take place without statistics to identify socio-economic problems and guide formulation and implementation of policies and programs for development.

Most of the statistics produced in the country emanate from the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), State Statistics Agencies (SSA) and Ministries Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at the Federal level. The Statistics Act 2007 established the National Statistical System (NSS) with the objective of raising public awareness about the importance of statistics, to collect, analyze and disseminate quality data; promote the use of statistics and build capability for the production and use of data. The NBS serves as an institution responsible for the production of official statistics that is required to sharpen the apparatus for economic growth and development.

In the context of 2007 Statistics Act, the NSS is made up of the Producers of statistics including NBS as the Coordinating Agency of the system, statistics units of the MDAs, SSAs and local government statistical units , data users including key users such as: policy formulators and decision makers in public and private sectors, informal and formal sectors, data suppliers including establishments in public and private sectors, informal and formal sectors, and research and training institutions including Universities and other Tertiary institutions and research institutes.

2. National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS)

The purpose of NSDS is to provide a mechanism for further reform of the NSS and acceleration of statistical development in Nigeria. NSDS engenders development of an integrated, harmonized, coordinated and coherent NSS to guarantee unified data production process. It covers the entire NSS, draws together data producing sectors and users and addresses the concerns of States, the MDAs at the federal level and other agencies responsible for the production of administrative data. The crafting of NSDS is in response to the Marrakech (2004) Action Plan for Statistics (MAPS) highlighting the need for African Countries to mainstream strategic planning in their Statistical Systems especially through the implementation of NSDS. MAPS set a target for all low-income countries to have designed NSDS by 2007 with a view to producing high-level statistics for national and international use by 2010.

The central focus of the NSDS is to ensure the existence of Statistical System in Nigeria that will be capable of effectively meeting Local, State, National and International data needs. Specifically, NSDS will strengthen the country’s capacity to produce quality statistics based on international best practices and standards to support national and international development initiatives, improve coordination and promote understanding between producers and users, strengthen national capacity to produce, manage and disseminate statistics through an integrated NSS and ensure sustainability. The National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (2017-2021) is a follow-up activity to the National Statistical Master Plan (NSMP) and the generic States Statistical Master Plans (SSMP); and the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (2010-2014). After a critical assessment of the performance of these strategies, it has been identified that the following requires serious attention for better performance:

  1. NBS should be completely autonomous reporting directly to the President;
  2. The Statistician-General must be a person who has passion for statistics;
  3. There should be a Deputy Statistician-General;
  4. The Board must be made up of Statistical Technocrats;
  5. The Act must be widely publicized and fully implemented;
  6. The penalty for failure by data suppliers to supply information to producers of statistics must be made to serve as a deterrent. The present penalty is too small.


The Vision of NSS as reviewed:

“The Vision of NSS is to be a proactive, coordinated, well-managed and resourceful system, capable of meeting statistical data and information needs of society through sustainable national development”.


The Mission of NSS as reviewed:

“The Mission of NSS is to raise public awareness about the importance and role of statistical information, collect, process, analyze and disseminate quality statistical data and information in a coordinated manner, promote use of best practices/international standards in statistical production, management and dissemination; promote the use of statistical data and information of all levels of human activities, and build sustainable capacity for the production and use of statistical data and information in Nigeria”.

The main elements of NSDS are:

  1. Organizational and institutional development
  2. Human resource management and development
  3. Infrastructural development
  4. Coordination of data production
  5. Data dissemination policy
  6. Statistical auditing to ensure compliance with local and international standards
  7. Securing adequate funding for plan implementation and
  8. Data development.

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