Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Prince Clem Ikanade Agba, has inaugurated the Macroeconomic Modelling lab/Economic Intelligence Desk (EID) set up in the Macro Economic Analysis Department of the Ministry.
Speaking on the occasion, Agba stated that the Modelling Lab was to serve as a clinical laboratory or “Wind Tunnel” where the technical officers of the Ministry were expected to test proposed new policies before implementation, study economic questions, and test cause and effect of macroeconomic problems.
He said that data obtained from data generating agencies would be used in the lab to estimate the effects of public polices and test their validity.
According to Agba, the lab would also be a place where officers would conduct a range of in-house empirical research activities, use macroeconomic models to observe and examine behaviours of economic agents for a given policy change.
The minister stated that the Modelling lab/Economic Intelligence Desk was equipped with portfolios of Macroeconomic models, namely: Macroeconomic planning models of the Nigeria Economy, Dynamic Input-Output model, ISDG Model, and the Dynamic Computable General Equilibrium Model of the Nigerian economy.
Prince Agba further disclosed that the macroeconomic models and other analytical tools in the lab/EID were expected to help the ministry to fully play its role as a think-tank and fulfill its mission as a policy advisory body to the Government while the models for policy making in the lab could, among others, be used for testing proposed new polices before they were implemented.
He also affirmed that the models would examine the effects of policy changes in the country, projecting the future time-path of the nation’s economy, designing and preparing the economic framework for National Development Plans and Annual budgets, Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF), setting short term, medium-term and long-term targets for macroeconomic variables and development goals.
The minister commended the Central Bank of Nigeria and Development Partners and sought their support in local and foreign training of the Ministry’s technical staff members on the use and development of models, ensuring regular review and maintenance of the models and database, attraction of relevant and capable staff members to the Ministry, hiring staff members with requisite knowledge and background in econometrics, quantitative economics, macroeconomics and software application.
Going forward, Agba was confident that the lab would provide the much-needed regular updates, forecasts and economic outlooks for the Nigerian economy.
Speaking earlier, the Permanent Secretary of the ministry, Mrs Olushola Idowu, disclosed that the Macroeconomic Modelling lab was set up by the Ministry for consistent forecast projections on key economic variables and the rapid changes and dynamics in the macro parameters to address shocks and others economic uncertainties.
She also said that the ministry identified the Computable General Equilibrium (CGE), iSDG-based systems Dynamics Models, inputs-outputs Tables and Econometrics Models as its portfolios of models for use in developing macroeconomic framework, forecasting, analysis and simulations for adequate understanding of the workings of the economy.
Idowu stated that the installation of some of the soft and hardware for the Models and test-run had been completed and the introductory training on two of the models for the technical officers had also been carried out to enhance the capacity of the staff members of FMFBNP, ensure institutional memory and knowledge transfer. She enjoined the department to uphold the high expectations of the ministry in guaranteeing the continuity of the project.
In her remarks the World Bank Senior Economist, Gloria Joseph-Raji, stated that the modeling lab was extremely critical for policy analysis and would facilitate a medium to longer term planning, because they would help the ministry understand the past and present, predict the future and help evaluate policy scenarios.
She expressed the readiness of International Monetary Fund (IMF) in supporting the Ministry in its modeling forecasting.
Also present at the event were the IMF Resident Representative in Nigeria, Ari Aisow, the National Policy Advisor GIZ-SEDIN, Catherine Ogumi, and the Policy Intern GIZ-SEDIN, Faulkener Oluranti as well, as Directors of the Ministry.
Director / Information, BNP