UN, FG reiterate importance of data in decision making

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The need to prioritise data visualization in decision-making processes has been reiterated by the United Nations (UN), the Federal Government and the Nigeria Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

The organisations expressed the imperative of data in the decision-making process at the official launch of the “Nigeria Visualised Project” on Monday night in Abuja.

The programme was put together by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Federal Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, and the NBS.

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Speaking at the launch, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Mr Mathias Schmale, noted the project has become important towards full implementation of government policies and programmes in Nigeria.

Schmale, who was represented by the Development Coordination Officer/Economist of UN, Nonso Obikili, said: “To meet the UN 2030 agenda for sustainable development requires that we continue to track key indicators of progress that we need around the world.

“Where we have fallen and need acceleration. The UN through instrument of SDG framework is committed to supporting government, in reporting trajectory on SDGs.”

He added that: “Too often data gets lost on the shelves and on countless basis that is why this platform is important, to put human face and help relate with data.“

The Minister of Budget and Economic Planning, Sen. Abubakar Bagudu, said the project would no doubt give more access and information to Nigerians.

He said, “Sometimes, we present them in a way people know, with different opportunities and development challenges and sometimes mutual suspicion.

“Visualisation can give you a full view about your country or developmental challenges, cultural opportunities in the landscape.

“When we are dealing with issues, particularly climate change, many people cannot relate to the challenges of others, because they do not know.

“This project will be an important tool for knowing Nigeria better both by Nigerians and non-Nigerians.”

The Minister of Youth Development, Dr. Jamila Ibrahim, who also spoke, commended UNDP and NBS for their commitment to harnessing data and advancing visualisation techniques.

She said the project, with more than 40 visualisations, would transform the space, provide data needed in the country, and change the narrative that has been there for ages.

She said: “The Nigeria visualized web platform is a beacon of progress offering rich visual stories about our nation and its diverse population.

“The area of focus being geography, climate, economy, demography, among other things, underscores commitment to tackle socioeconomic, culture and ecological dynamics.

“The objective of democratizing access to data aligns seamlessly with our shared vision for informed decision-making and sustainable progress.”

The Statistician-General/CEO of NBS, Mr Semiu Adeniran, on his part, said collaboration with UNDP and the ministry marked a new turn in collective data gathering.

He said: “It resonates our present drive to enhance data reporting and visualization capacity, for better understanding and assimilation of data among our users.”

Meanwhile, the UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Mohamed Yahya, said the initiative was designed to boost understanding of data visualization.

He said: “Having data visualised in an accessible manner allows everybody understand what they are seeing and to make decisions based on them.”

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