The Nigerian Statistical Association (NSA) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to sign the Chartered Institute of Statisticians of Nigeria (CISON) Bill into law.
The bill has been passed by the National Assembly for more than two years but has not been signed by the President.
The National Secretary of NSA, Dr Olatunji Arowolo, made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos.
Arowolo spoke on the sideline of a three-day maiden edition of International Statistical Conference, organised by NSA.
He said that the association would transit from NSA to CISON, once the bill received the endorsement of the president.
“The association is seeking for CISON because we have found out that most people working in the field of statistics are not statisticians.
“For you to be engaged in production of statistics, you have to go through this institute, whether you are a statistician or not; we still have to re-train you.
“It is just like what is obtainable in accounting profession, whereby professionals are chartered and they have a professional body – the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN).
“Most people don’t have degree in accounting but they are made to go through the institute so that they will be able to practise as an accountant,’’ he said.
Similarly, the official said NSA wanted to have CISON to train statisticians very well because if wrong data is giving, then you will get wrong results.
He, however, advocated autonomy for the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), adding that the bureau should be independent.
“It is still under Ministry of Budget and National Planning and that doesn’t secure its autonomy because of that, they are lacking funds.
“ If NBS doesn’t have enough funds, how will it process data effectively and achieve its mandate of coordinating statistical activities in the country?”
He said there should be a separate budget line for NBS such as South Africa that had a separate budget for its Bureau of Statistics.
Meanwhile, the official said the conference was first of its kind since the association was established over 40 years ago, adding that NSA had not had any international conference.
The theme of the conference is “Positioning National Statistical Systems for Data Revolution and Inclusive Development’’.
He said that the reality of data revolution appeared to be posing serious challenges to national statistical systems.
He, however, said that the outcome of the meeting would be presented to policy makers to assist them in repositioning the statistical systems.
In addition, he said that the organisation had organised a two-day pre-conference workshop for its members prior to the commencement of the international conference.
“The membership consists those who are academics and non-academics.
“Pre-conference workshop is meant to train members on the latest statistical tools for data analysis and production,’’ he said.
NAN reports that the conference is being organised in collaboration with the Lagos State Bureau of Statistics and the Lagos State Ministry of Economic Planning and Budget.
It will create forum for exchange of best practices among participating national statistical offices.
It will also create forum for exchange of knowledge among institutions, academicians, professionals and stakeholders from within Nigeria and abroad.