Code of Practice for Official Statistics in Nigeria – NBS


Official statistics are fundamental to development planning, good government, delivery of public services and effective decision-making in all sectors of the society. Statistics provides information to all stakeholders and the public with performance on the different sectors of the society and the economy as well as the performance of government.  

Adoption and compliance with a common Code of Practice, by all the public bodies that produce official statistics, is central to maintaining a unified statistical service that meets the needs of government and society and is both credible and trusted.

The Statistics Act 2007 requires the Nigeria Statistics Authority (the National Bureau of Statistics) to prepare and publish a Code of Practice and to assess compliance against it. All bodies that produce Official Statistics are required to ensure that the Code continues to be observed. For other non – official statistics, compliance with the Code is not a formal requirement.

Official Statistics is defined in Section 4 of the Statistics Act 2007 as Statistics produced by the National Bureau of Statistics, Line Ministries and Agencies, Public Authorities, State Statistical Agencies and Local Government Statistical Units.

This Code is designed for use by the National Bureau of Statistics, the Statistical Units in MDAs and other public institutions at Federal, State and Local Government levels that produce official statistics. Its principal aim is to set out, as stated in the Statistics Act 2007, the professional standards to be followed by all agencies producing Official Statistics and set the framework for enhancing statistical development within the National Statistical System.

This Code is consistent with the United Nations Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics and the Nigeria Statistics Act 2007 (with which all producers of Nigerian Statistics are expected to comply).

It is also consistent with the Civil Service core values of integrity, honesty, objectivity, and impartiality.

With respect to statistical work, these are interpreted as follows:  

  • Integrity – putting the public interest above organizational, political or personal interests
  • Honesty – being truthful and open to the statistics and their interpretation.
  • Objectivity – using scientific methods to collect statistics and basing statistical advice on rigorous analysis of the evidence.
  • Impartiality – acting solely according to the merits of the statistical evidence, serving equally well all aspects of the public interest.

The Code contains seventeen principles and, in relation to each, a statement of associated practices and Key Indicator(s) of Compliance (KIC).

The principles and practices of the Code represent a common quality framework in the Nigerian Statistical System and are intended to ensure: that the range of official statistics meets the needs of users; that the statistics are produced, managed and disseminated to high standards; and that the statistics are clear, unambiguous and well explained.

The Code is specific but, in some cases, its requirements will need interpretation and professional judgment. The Statistician-General will provide supplementary guidance to assist bodies that produce official statistics.

Some practices set out in the Code are relevant to more than one principle. In the interests of conciseness, the practices are not normally repeated under different principles.

It is implicit in the Code that, there will be sufficient managerial separation between staff responsible for official statistics and other staff of the organization, to ensure clear lines of accountability for the observance of the Code.

The Statistician-General in the National Bureau of Statistics as the Coordinator of the National Statistical System (NSS), shall be the Head of Assessment of Compliance with the Code.

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