Mrs Adejoke Ore-Adefulire, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), has called on stakeholders to strengthen data gathering and dissemination system in order to report the SDGs effectively.

Ore-Adefulire made the call at a Public Lecture organised by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), to mark the 2017 African Statistics Day on Thursday in Abuja.

The theme of the celebration is “Better Lives with Economic Better Statistics’’.`

Ore-Adefulire, represented by Mr Yahaya Hamija, said stakeholders should meet the conditions established by the UN for follow up and reporting of the SDGs.

“We must eschew a culture of donour dependency and collaborate to commit substantial resources in the annual appropriation for this purpose.

“We must strengthen the System of Administrative Statistics in Nigeria, developing the capacity of Civil Servants and other key players so that they can live up to expectation.

“It is imperative as well to improve our Civil Registration System as the registration of births, deaths, marriages, immigration and others is a human right, fulfilling the condition that no one should be left behind,’’ the aide said.

She, however, called for efforts to digitise data system and deploy technology for data administration and dissemination, noting that Nigeria should not continue to have international agencies use out-dated data system to rate its progress.

Ore-Adefulire said stakeholders should consider consolidating the multiple sources of data available in the country or at least streamline the reporting channels.

In his remarks, Prof. Sidney Onyeagu, the President Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA) said statistics provided information for monitoring, evaluation and reporting progress in meeting the goals and targets of the SDGs.

Onyeagu, represented by Dr Godday Ebuh, the 1st Vice President of NSA said that the current status of economic statistics on the continent was not stellar.

“The power of economic statistics equates that of the information at hand to guide suitable decisions; the more complete the statistics, the more powerful they are, but come at a cost.

“The development of good quality economic statistics is a matter of public choice and forms part of investments that lead to fast and inclusive prosperity for countries and their citizens.

“Hence, strengthening the African national statistical offices for the production of timely and robust data is crucial to unlocking the continent’s potential.

“It is a matter of ownership, identity and sovereignty. Without sound and robust national data, defining an adequate public policy may be a mirage.

“Also, the likelihood of effectively measuring its outcome may remain elusive,’’ he said.

According to him, giving free access to data is about empowering people.

“It is less eye-catching than building a hospital or a school but it is a smart way to ensure that more hospitals and schools are effectively and efficiently delivered.’’

Also speaking, Mr Denis Jobir of UNICEF said the theme of the celebration was apt and it demonstrated the importance of collaboration in the production of economic data.

Jobir said that UNICEF had been supporting the NBS to achieve its mandate.

He said the organisation in collaboration with the NBS had inaugurated the Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS 5).

“MICS survey measure key indicators that allowed countries to generate data for use in policies and programmes.

“The result from the survey will help to provide data on education, health and other sectors of the economy for proper policy making and sustainable development,’’ the official said.

The African Statistics Day Celebration is an offshoot of the meeting of ministers responsible for planning in Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia held in 1990.

The meeting set aside Nov.18, of every year as a special day for statistics and promoting awareness about the important role it plays in the development of the society.

However, because Nov. 18 was on a Saturday, NBS as the coordinator of the event revolved to celebrate on Nov. 23