Udoma emphasizes usefulness of Geospatial Data in National Development

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ABUJA (Ministry of Budget and National Planning) – The Minister of Budget and National Planning, Senator Udoma Udo Udoma had reemphasised the potential of evidence-based decision-making and the power of geospatial data in providing solutions to developmental problems.

He made this emphasis recently, when he gave his opening remarks during a two-day workshop on Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Data for Development (the GRID3) Use Case, organised in Abuja recently.

He called on agencies whose focus are on geospatial data generation and mapping to help generate data that can help both government and the private sector in planning more accurately based on established data and help government to achieve the objectives of the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan (ERGP).

He stated that after an upsurge in polio cases in 2011, geospatial vaccination tracking efforts were put in place which provided updated settlement maps, population data and health ward boundaries, he added that the data collected was integrated into a Vaccine Tracking System that allowed vaccinators to reach every settlement which as a result, dropped polio cases to zero by 2015.

The Minister revealed that in order to improve on this 0%, the Ministry of Budget and National Planning in collaboration with relevant development partners, established the Nigeria GRID3 secretariat and initiated consultations with stakeholders.

He recalled that in 2017 President Muhammadu Buhari launched the ERGP as a means of taking Nigeria out of recession and placing it back not just on the path of growth, but a growth that is diversified, inclusive and sustainable.

He explained that the ERGP seeks to achieve sustainable development; It also commits the country to the objective of investing in our people and building a globally competitive economy.

The Minister stated that laying the foundations for long term development requires a dynamic, agile private sector that can innovate and respond to global opportunities; and also aims at tackling the obstacles hindering the competitiveness of Nigeria, one of which is clearly the dearth of data in a timely and comprehensive manner.

He said that geospatial data is a specialised area which requires unique expertise. He also revealed that the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) under his Ministry, is playing a major role in supplying economic data. which is the importance of the GRID3Project.

While acknowledging the contributions of development partners in the process of seeking better ways to tackle development challenges, he noted also that those assembled in workshop are the key stakeholders required to examine how GRID3 can effectively be deployed to support Nigeria’s development.

The funding partners include: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the UK Department for International Development; the implementing partners are World Pop/Flow minder, the United Nations Population Fund and Columbia University’s Center for International Earth Science Information Network.

He continued that this workshop was designed to develop tools and applications that will aid our MDAs leverage on geo-referenced data to effectively utilize Nigeria’s resources to deliver economic development; develop modalities that ensure effective collection, storage, retrieval and analysis of the data as a timely input for government policies and decisions; ensure that the right stakeholders including academicians, CSOs and private sectors have timely access to appropriate data, to aid collective participation in national development and finally develop a strategy to build the capacity of various levels of government to effectively collect and use geo-referenced data for the development of various sectors and society.

Among those at the workshop were Dr John Primrose, Head of Department UK-DFID, Nigeria; Dr Paul Basinga, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation; Mr Keith Garreff, Lead geospatial Operational Support Team from the World Bank; Dr Lorant Czaran, Lead, GRID 3 Project; Prof. Olajide Kuforiji, Surveying and Geo-Informatics Programme Director of OAU and representatives several related government institutions.

Signed

Akpandem James

Special Adviser (Media) to the Hon Minister