Nigeria begins data harmonisation to save N40 billion

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By Oluwatobi Opusunju

The Nigerian government has set up an Inter-Ministerial Committee to oversee the process of harmonizing data collection and evaluation as the country deepens its commitment to end data duplicity,  data capturing exercises across federal Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs).  It is believed that the process could save the country about N40 billion incurred as operational costs by the different MDAs for their stand-alone data collection and evaluation.

This was made known recently by the Minister of Finance, Kemi Adeosun  who noted that that the Committee would ensure national standards for data collection, evaluation and publication as well as regularly provide guidance to all MDAs and other stakeholders engaged in data collection, analysis and publication for policy formulation, implementation and monitoring.

The committee would serve as the clearing house and focal authority for MDAs for data collection, authentication and publication. There has been several efforts in the past to kick-start the process but it has stalled.

“The establishment of the Inter-Ministerial Committee has become imperative to develop the production of national statistics and avoid data production duplication,” said Adeosun. The inter-ministerial committee is expected to submit half-yearly reports to the Minister of Finance for necessary briefing of President Buhari.

Agencies who have their own separate biometric data gathering are Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Federal Road Safety Commission (FRSC), National Identity Management Commission (NIMC) and the Federal Inland Revenue Service (FIRS).

Others are National Pension Commission (NPC) , the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) , the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) , the National Population Commission (NPC), telecom service providers and the Federal Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, etc.

Once the harmonisation is completed, citizens will no longer be required to have their biometrics taken repeatedly by different government agencies and private entities like telcos.  The harmonisation will also help the country in crime detection and prevention.

The USA, Canada, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, EU countries and several others an harmonised database to impact successfully on citizens engagements, crime detection and prevention. As well as economic development.

The committee would be chaired by the Statistician General of the Federation and Director-General of National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Yemi Kale while members of the Committee include: the Accountant General of the Federation, Idris Ahmed; Director General of the Debt Management Office, Patience Oniha; Director-General of Budget Office of the Federation, Ben Akabueze, and representatives of the Federal Ministries of Finance, Budget and National Planning, Health, Agriculture and Rural Development, Labour and Productivity, Education, Communications.

Other members of the Committee are representatives of the Office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, Central Bank of Nigeria, Department of Petroleum Resources, Federal Inland Revenue Service, Nigeria Immigration Service, Nigerian Customs Service, National Population Commission, Nigerian Police, and Nigerian Governors Forum.

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