Two decades after Nigeria conducted the last business census of establishments in the country, plans have been concluded to begin another round of exercise.
The census, The Guardian gathered, will help to determine the structure of enterprises in Nigeria by sectors and the spread across the states and all the 774 Local Government Areas (LGAs) in the country, as well as help to classify businesses into micro, small, medium and large establishments.
The last exercise was last conducted between 1998 and 1999. The Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer, National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale, at a stakeholders’ sensitization workshop on National Census of Commercial and Industrial Businesses (NCCIB), said the effort was considered desirable as it would enable the country to have an up-to-date comprehensive list of all establishments in the country.
He said the exercise is critical especially as the information to be generated would be used for the monitoring and evaluation of the current government’s economic blueprint, the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and as well as the rebasing of the nation’s economy.
He said the forum was intended to instill a high sense of ownership and inclusion in its quest to provide government and other users of statistics with adequate, reliable and timely statistical information for evidence-based policy formulation.
To attain sustainability in the generation of quality and timely statistics, he stressed the need for sustained cooperation and collaboration of all relevant stakeholders ranging from the data producing agencies to the supplier of information and to the user.
While seeking the needed support and cooperation of concerned stakeholders towards the success of the important national exercise, Kale, said for ease of accessibility and to avoid overlapping, the entire country has been divided into blocks (LGAs) and segments to enable the data collected to be tracked by areas of concentration of businesses in Nigeria.
He noted that the process of blocking had been completed, while work on segmentation was on-going with challenges that would require the support of all who have a stake in the success of the census.
As a way of guaranteeing the quality and integrity of the information emanating from the exercise, he said the NBS in collaboration with the World Bank would deploy the use of modern Information Communication Technology (ICT) at every stage of the conduct of the census, adding that the exercise would use the Computer Assisted Personnel Interviewer (CAPI) devices during the field operations.
In his welcome address, the Project Director for the National Business Sample Census (NBSC), Adeyemi Adeniran, acquainted the participants on some of the objectives of the business census.
Among the objectives, he said it would harmonize the frames, instruments, concepts, standards, and methodology for industrial and business surveys in Nigeria as well as provide a benchmark for subsequent commercial and industrial sector statistics.
He said it would develop a national directory of commercial and business establishments with all their associated social and economic characteristics, adding that it will provide comprehensive and detail information about the structure of the economy to form the basis upon which the next GDP re-basing can be done.
“The Census will help us to provide answers to important questions such as: how many business enterprises do we have in each State of the Federation? Where are these businesses located? What is the employment strength of these businesses, and what is the capacity utilization of these businesses, among other such important questions?
“These are information that are critical in determining the direction and strength of the nation’s economy. Thus, as key stakeholders, your cooperation in providing accurate information will help to provide data that will support policy formulation and informed decision.
“As a developing economy, there is a need for robust and reliable statistical information to be able to manage critical sectors such as Education, Health, Agriculture, Commerce and Industry, Environment, to mention but a few. Without these, we cannot make well-informed decisions that will catalyze our social and economic development for the improvement of the welfare of the citizenry.”