NEED FOR DATA COLLECTION AND STATISTICAL INFORMATION SPACE IN GOVERNMENT
The bu d g e t presentation for the 2021 Fiscal year, by the State Governor, Sen. (Prof) Ben Ayade shows clearly that he is committed to ensuring that the present administration offers its best for the people of the State. More so, from the point that government is shifting the paradigm from general service- delivery to the primary option of feeding the people. We see clearly that we are going through a situation where our challenges are staring directly on our face,thereby, making us “drift away from our kinetic crystallization, our olympotic agenda and reducing ourselves to a sudden consumptive primitivistic efforts just to reflect on the mood of the time”. But all hope is not lost and we are energized that Governor Ayade has again,reiterated his stand for putting food on the people’s table, expanding government and just ensuring that citizens are happy with assured hope, particularly, for the youth.
This is indeed, very commendable, especially, as it is coming at a time that the Federal Government, World Bank and other Stakeholders are carrying out a National Business Sample Census (NBSC) in all the 36 States of the country, including the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
The exercise which is headed by the Federal Commissioner, Revenue Mobilization Fiscal Commission, Alhaji Muhammed Kabeer Usman has been conducted in the South South geo-political Zone.
It dwelt on the sensitization and delivery of advocacy messages to State Governments in the Zone, on the need for accurate data keeping and statistical information at all times. The objectives of the Census included among others, to develop a national directory o f c o m m e r c i a l establishments with the associated social and economic characteristics, as well as, provide the country with comprehensive and detailed information about the structure of the economy.
“…we can all agree to the fact that, constant and consistent data and statistics can make the dreams and vision of our dynamic digital Governor come true, and become apt, even in the face of daunting challenges”
A close look at the outcome of the visit calls to mind, the article 1 wrote in 2018 “A time to plant, a time to harvest”. I was optimistic that as Cross Riverians, we would reap from the bountiful harvest in the programmes and policies that the State Governor, Sen. (Prof) Sir Ben Ayade has passionately planted for the benefit of the people of the State. “All that we required as a people was just patience, and of course, patience is all that we still need, even as we must also watch closely and judge fairly in this unquenching desire to reap from the Ayade’s administration”.
However, in so doing, there is need also for a closer look at a proper data-gathering from all the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDGs) in the State. The need for availability and use of data cannot be over emphasized given that, it helps in proper policy formation and developmental planning.The State Governor has already set the tone for a bountiful harvest. But if we, as a State must develop and begin to reap bountifully from the Ayade’s administration, we would reason that there is indeed, an urgent need for all the MDAs to have proper and accurate data and statistics. This is one sure way of successfully driving the programmes and policies of the State with impressive results. The Federal Commissioner’s visit was very timely, as it further educated the MDAs and other stakeholders in the State that the Internally Generated Revenue (IGR) of each State and Local Government must be realistic as provided in the Audited Accounts, while the Audited Accounts should be prepared and duly signed by the Auditor- General of the State and the AuditorGeneral of the Local Governments. All revenue figures must be properly captured in the relevant sub-heads, IGR must be constant with the data published by the Joint Task Board (JTB) and Annual Statement of Accounts (ASA). While explaining on this, Usman explained that data from Local Government on primary school’s environment should be in strict consonance with the Universal Basic Education Commission (UBEC) figures and must not be outrageous submissions. This applies also, to Secondary / Technical school environment. Also, Ministry of Health must submit beds in hospitals and Primary Health Centres, in line with the World Health Organization (WHO) standard. Judging from the above, we can all agree to the fact that, constant and consistent data and statistics can make the dreams and vision of our dynamic digital Governor come true, and become apt, even in the face of daunting challenges. Accurate data and statistics collection remain key to the development of our State in particular, and the nation in general. Even businesses thrive where accurate data and statistics remain the order of business.
Therefore, it is pertinent to know that more meaning would be added to the development strides of Sir Ben Ayade, who has, in the course of time, ensured that all the 18 Local Government Areas of the State have had more than one infrastructure sighted in their domains. This is indeed, the right step in the right direction. It would be creating more jobs opportunities across the State. This is commendable. In the spirit of an Entrepreneur and International businessman, his administration, hinged on industrialization drive would indeed, bring forth the desired bountiful harvest, and much more, with the creation of functional space for the provision of accurate data and statistics, as we enthusiastically watch him set up more projects and infrastructure in the State.