Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA) has urged on the Federal Government to involve the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS) in the monitoring of crude oil export and refined petroleum products importation with a view to ensuring reliable statistical data on the nation’s merchandise.

This is even as it also called for urgent review of the existing policies guiding the economic activities in the Export Processing Zones (EPZs) such that the export-import trade business in the zones could be accessible to agencies involved in data collation and production for national planning and development.

Setting this agenda for government at the just ended 39th Annual Conference of the Association in Oshogbo, Osun State, its National President, Dr Mohammed Tumala, said these policy measures were required to get accurate data on Nigeria’s merchandise trade trends on a broader scale and by implication, support statistics-based planning for development.

Tumala, who described the exclusion of statistics as a core subject in secondary school curriculum as undesirable for the country, said the involvement of the NCS in crude oil lifting and fuel import regime, given the agency’s capacity to do so, would go a long way in minimising the abuses that had characterised the oil and gas industry operations over the years.

On the current moves to build a credible identity database for Nigerians as well as the  anti-corruption crusade in the country, Tumala said such agenda would only succeed if the relevant agencies had the right data to work  with and also involve professional statisticians in the collation, analysing, production, and application of such statistical data on their investigations.

He therefore advised security agencies such as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to see how they could begin to rely on and adopt proactive data mining approaches to fight financial and other crimes in the country.

While expressing the readiness of the NSA to partner with the various agencies including the EFCC, Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (CPC), Directorate of State Security Services (DSSS) and the National Identity Management Commission  (NIMC), Tumala said  the group was prepared to help state governments establish their Bureaux of Statistics to support their drive towards effective policy implementation.

In his opening speech at the Conference, Osun State Governor, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, appealed to the association to rise to the challenge of helping the country develop a credible statistical database on key areas of education, health and the economy, among others, with a view to supporting the tiers of government in basing their developmental agenda on statistics-based planning.

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