The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), is set to conduct another round of Business Census in Nigeria, an exercise that was last done 20 years ago due to funding constraints.
This time round, the exercise is being facilitated by the World Bank, the Statistician-General of the Federation, Yemi Kale, said at the flag-off the exercise, Monday, with the Training of Trainers programme for the census.
Kale explained that the Business Census, also known as Economic Census is a statistical exercise that involves the enumeration of formal and informal business establishments across the country.
Giving an insight into the nature and importance of the census, he said: “During this process, commercial and industrial business operations in fixed locations are listed with valuable information, including the nature of the economic activity of the establishments, the number of employees they engage, their contact details, amongst other things, are collected during the exercise.
The information emanating from this census activity is primarily useful in understanding the nature and structure of the economy, as well as providing a sound business frame for the conduct of economic surveys in the country.
“Conventionally, it is conducted every five years, as recommended by the United Nations Statistical Commission, however in Nigeria; the census has not been conducted for over two decades, mainly due to funding challenges. Knowing the critical importance of the exercise, not just to the statistical system in Nigeria, but to the entire economy, since my appointment into this position, we have sought for different ways and means to actualise this census. Our pursuit for this finally paid off thanks to the World Bank’s Fiscal Governance and Institutions Project (FGIP), which graciously accommodated the Business Census, as well as the Agricultural Census, which we plan to conduct early next year. So, let me at this point appreciate the World Bank for this opportunity to correct this statistical anomaly in Nigeria.
This exercise along with many others that we have both collaborated on over the years, have been extremely critical to the development of the national statistical system, and to policymaking and monitoring in Nigeria. Therefore, on behalf of the system, I thank you most sincerely,” Kale said with delight.
He stressed the importance of the training event, as it an important stage in the data production process; a stage at which the personnel, who will be sent to the field to train the data collectors are equipped with the knowledge and processes of the survey or census.
“ToT is unique in the sense that it jointly serves as a publicity event for the business census. As you can imagine, an exercise such as this requires a huge amount of publicity and advocacy. Everyone, including individuals, households, business owners, organisations as well as policymakers at all levels need to be fully aware and support this exercise for it to be truly successful,” he added.
He also reminded participants that the results of the exercise are particularly important for statistical operations and policymaking in Nigeria, particularly because it has not been conducted for over 20 years, and therefore urged all the trainers and facilitators to kindly accord it the seriousness and commitment it deserves.