Highly acclaimed for his forward looking and prompt release of Consumer Price Index (CPI), which measures the monthly inflation rate in the country, Dr. Yemi Kale is credited with the rebasing of the outdated base year of Gross Domestic Products (GDP), which made Nigeria the largest economy in Africa and the 26th largest economy in the world.
The above feats no doubt captured the structural changes in the economy especially in critical sectors like banking, telecommunication, Nollywood and other entertainment sectors where Nigeria recorded quantum leap in recent years.
Dr. Kale also embarked on the development of an outline data and interactive system with social network apart from the introduction of user’s feedback mechanism and median statistical education which has been applauded by both national and international stakeholders.
That Dr Kale restored sanity in the nation’s statistical processes and always stood his ground when published data were criticized and disputed is no more news. In conjunction with relevant authorities and development partners, he has painstakingly executed critical reforms which have strengthened the nation’s apex statistical agency.
Going by the credible data that has helped in the county’s planning most especially in this trying times, it is not surprising that the current administration deemed it fit to give Dr. Kale another opportunity to fine-tune other areas in order to bring about the desired goal in the nation’s development agenda.
With the stamp of approval for all the reforms that have been brought to bear on the agency, government is expected to change their erstwhile lip service of funding and come out in real terms to adequately fund the agency, if it means well for accurate data provision to policy making and implementation.
Month by month the media is awash with reports that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), owing to lack of funds to carry out its mandate, had to resort to several development partners, World Bank and most times from the Central Bank of Nigeria for support. This is a real challenge that must be tackled headlong.
For standing on the platform of poor funding, and to act as shock absorber when the same government that he serves criticizes his data quality when published deserves commendation. On the whole, stakeholders are of the opinion that data quality, notably, macro-economic data has added a notch.
One major development during the first tenure of Dr. Kale was the introduction of Enhanced General Data Dissemination System (e-GDDS). It is a program of the International Monetary Fund (IMF designed for the NBS to serve as a one-stop macro-economic data publication platform.
Apart from attracting Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), the platform would boost data transparency of member countries and eventual promotion of effective statistical systems.
As he embarks on his second tenure, it is expected that effective consolidation of all programmes and activities be carefully articulated in order to exceed current achievements.
In the prevailing economic downturn where most of our citizenry are into blame game, there may be element of resentment towards data that would be pushed out in the near future by politicians, especially if such data do not favour their whims and caprices.
Dr Kale received his undergraduate degree from Addis Ababa University and a Doctorate from the London School of Economics & Political Science. He has served on several Presidential Committees and Advisory Bodies and is an alumnus of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government leadership in government programmes.
He belongs to a number of professional bodies including a Fellow of the UK Royal Statistical Society, Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Administrators and Researchers of Nigeria, Member at the World Economics Federation, Member at the Royal Economic Society and Member of the Nigerian Statistical Association.