• Tuesday, May 28, 2024
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CBN Governor and the challenges of national statistical data deficits (II)



In terms of macroeconomic social and humandevelopmentin dicators/indices, Nigeria is in serious deficits in these vital national statistics. For example, the gamut of basic data and information regarding national statistical figures on the following: Inflation/Consumer Price Index (CPI), Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Gross National Income (GNI) per capita, Manufacturing Output/Value Added, Agricultural Output/Value added, Total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Inflows, Total FDI Outflows, Banking/financial sector disclosure requirements, Poverty rate, Schools enrolments figures, Death and Birth Rates figures, Unemployment/Employment statistics and many more, are in great deficits in Nigeria at all levels of spatial collection and aggregation at all times. I can go on and on but the point has been made that all has not been well with Nigeria with regards to these basic building blocks of overall national development processes (i.e. socio-economic and political etc). Hence, the importance of these vital national statistics cannot be overemphasized.
The new CBN governor; with risk management expertise and a graduate of the famous Department of Economics of Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria, Nigeria, pretty knows this fact very well. Fortunately enough, he needs no lecture from any one on the subject. Therefore, he doesn’t require attending any induction course(s) from the United States’ famous Harvard University’s Business School and/or Kennedy School of Government for that matter.

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Therefore, the great challenges in tackling Nigeria’s serious national vital statistical data and information deficits by Mallam Sanusi are overwhelming to say the least. For example, gleaning from the basic and preliminary agenda he recently unveiled to the general public as to his areas of immediate priority in the short and medium terms, the herculean tasks can only be achieved successfully with timely, complete, accurate and reliable data and information regarding Nigeria’s socio-economic and physical/natural resources sectors.
As the problem of national statistical data and information deficits in Nigeria is no longer a “breaking news” item (i.e. the malady has been with the country even before independence in 1960), Mallam Sanusi needs to mainstream, spear head and take lead of making this embarrassing national malady history.

There are several pathways to addressing this problem. However, I hasten to say that a number of the previous attempts by the successive Nigerian governments to address the problem ended up further compounding the problem rather than solving it. For example, a number of such attempts in the past resulted in pilling more bureaucratic layers to the problem and through money guzzling vanity policies, programmes and projects to say the least.
This time around, there is the need to avoid these failed pathways and go for result oriented and cohesive solutions. Again, Mallam Sanusi is a very highly trained, knowledgeable and experienced economist-cum political economists with wide grasps of such roadmaps; especially as a seasoned and experienced risk manager who worked with statistical data and strategic information (including banks’ financial disclosure requirements) in addressing, managing and forecasting financial and economic risks in his previous work places. Hence, one of the possible pathways already indicated by Mallam Sanusi that will make his work much easier and result oriented at the CBN is bridging the existing technical capacity deficits at the CBN. This he intend to do through progressive capacity building in all the spheres of the bank’s areas of operation. It is here that I think the new governor can be said to have already registered success in his correct diagnosis of what needs to be done in the short term if his mold of CBN’s national development oriented agenda is to be successfully implemented by the bank staffers.
Therefore, for his capacity building proposition, he already indicated that he intends to work and collaborate with those local Nigerian and international organisations and institutions with years of successful experiences in capacity building and training.
For example, he has penciled down the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and international investment banks among other that he will partner with in this endeavour. Again, this time around, he did not mention Harvard University (no malice whatsoever)! The next step is for the CBN governor to look outwards towards other national, state and local government level public and private sector institutions that CBN interfaces with in the conduct of its statutory functions and mandates. I hasten to say that these areas are not only minefields but areas of catastrophic capacity building deficiencies that defy correction; particularly when it comes to the issue of statistical data and information management.
Therefore, this is where he needs to shift from hierarchic traditional government practices to cooperative and collaborative governance procedures of the 21st century. Furthermore, his quest for changes of the political, social and economic conditions for public management and public administration require political, bureaucratic and technocratic actors that can conduct processes of change and development in a systematic and responsible way, and to apply principles of good governance to their work within different socio-spatial and economic sectors and organizations; public and private sectors wise.
How to go about doing this is another big challenge before the new CBN governor.
However, one of the many ways that this 21st century cooperative and collaborative governance procedures and practices can be introduced and implemented for the overall benefit of the national economy, is for the CBN to mainstream and spear head the change or shift. He should do this first, in cooperation and collaboration with the bank’s traditional allies such as the ministries of finance, national planning and petroleum resources and their associated departments and agencies such as the Budget office, offices of the Accountant and Auditor Generals of the federation respectively, Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS), National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), National Planning Commission (NPC), National Population Commission (NPC) and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
This effort should then be extended to all other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at the federal, states and local government levels. All relevant private sector/industry organised institutions and their associated independent regulatory bodies should be incorporated in the nationwide grand scheme. In conclusion, one of the strategies that can be helpful in implementing this desirable shift is by way of establishing inter-ministerial technical working committees.
These working committees should be tasked to fashion out data and information gathering, processing, storage, retrieval and archiving templates; based upon areas of shared common grounds and those that are unique to the specific MDAs and industry/economic sectors. This may serve as a strong foundation for building a robust system for addressing and correcting Nigeria serious national statistical data and information deficits in short and medium terms.