Experts harp on importance of statistics in national planning, development

Statistician-General, National Bureau of Statistics, Dr. Yemi Kale, has charged government at all levels to embrace the practice of evidence-based planning for national development.

Kale made the call at the “Annual Mathematics Conference and Exhibition 2020,” organised by Mathematics For Life Foundation in Lagos. The summit emphasised the imperativeness of the subject in every sphere of human and national life.

Speaking on the theme, “The Mathematics of Census: Population, Planning and National Development,” the statistician said any government planning without statistics would fail to deliver on promises for the improvement of the welfare of the people.He said: “government needs good statistics because they are part of enabling environment for development and census is of great value and population data are sine qua non for sustainable development.

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“Population census exercises have had a history of enormous challenges in Nigeria, which affects the credibility and usefulness of census data for informed decision making process.”

According to him, census should be seen as a planning instrument rather than political weapon and be made a priority in the country in the pursuit for socioeconomic transformation and development.

“A nation without accurate information about the population of its country would always be wobbling in confusion with attendant effects of serious underdevelopment and abject poverty.“African countries are still underdeveloped because of failure to put in place effective system of vital statistics production,” Kale said.

At the event, President, Nigeria Women in Mathematics, Prof. Olabisi Ugbebor, said census was not limited to taking number of people alone, but also involve taking on various matters such as agriculture, business firms, and housing, among others.

“If Nigeria is determined to leapfrog her rivals into a leading position, she must do something about the quantum leap in population levels,” she said. President, Mathematics for Life Foundation, Mr. Omoniyi Osuntuyi, said the body seeks to educate every African, using mathematics as an innovative and unique tool in improving the quality of education at all levels.

He said that the theme was a reflection of what was happening in the country today in terms of population, planning and development.Osuntuyi who stated that the United Nations said census should be done every 10 years in all countries, noted that Nigeria has not counted its people for 14 years, a development, which can really affect the nation’s plans for the future.

“Government needs to update the population statistics in every area so the country can plan and develop for the future.“Our foundation is really doing great in terms of improving Nigerian students academics, recently one of our students got the best WAEC and JAMB result in Nigeria.“We also developed teachers and give them basic information on how to teach mathematics so that students can be encouraged in learning mathematics in the simplest form,” he said.

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