By Cecilia Ologunagba
A director in the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Isiaka Olarewaju has said that the bureau is planning to compute Human Development Index (HDI) in each state to determine the level of development.
Olarewaju, who is in charge of Real Sector and Household Statistics, disclosed this in an interview in Abuja.
The director said the index would help the country to compare development in three basic areas of the economy in each of the state.
The HDI is a summary measure for assessing progress in three basic dimensions of human development: a long and healthy life, access to knowledge and a decent standard of living.
Knowledge level is measured by many years of education among the adult population and standard of living is measured by Gross National Income (GNI) per capita.
Meanwhile, a long and healthy life is measured by life expectancy at birth.
Speaking on HDI for Nigeria, Olarewaju said the data for the country released by the UN Development Programme (UNDP) was produced in collaboration with the NBS.
Nigeria’s HDI value for 2017 was 0.532 – which put the country in the low human development category, positioning it at 157 out of 189 UN members, according to 2017 HDI report.
Olarewaju said the data for the country was computed along with other countries to ascertain its level of progress.
“Mind you, there are data collectors for other countries so when they compare Nigeria to other countries that is when they can assess the level of development.
“What the Statistician-General believes is when you do HDI internationally, Nigeria can also do same within the country and compare states,’’ he said.
According to him, there is positive improvement in the country’s HDI ranking, which has moved up by two points.
The HDI report showed that Nigeria’s HDI value for 2017 was 0.532 and it was 0.530 in 2016.
The director, however said the bureau would soon conduct sociology economic surveys.
He said the economic surveys would not only contain election matters but include indicators of the socio economic life of Nigerians.
Olarewaju said though some people often misunderstood the data released by NBS when it did not favour them.
“For instance, the bureau some years back said the economy of Nigerian was in recession, the Statistician-General did not just say so, it was based on definition.
“When the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is growing at a negative rate for two consecutive quarters in a year, it means the economy is in recession.
“Now, it is the economic data we gather that showed the GDP was growing at a negative rate, it is not that the Statistician-General woke up and said it.
“Now the GDP growth rate has increased and it is no longer negative but it is still not as high as it used to be when the economy was okay.
“NBS has economists, we have policy makers, we have programme managers who know the meaning of when the GDP is growing at a certain rate or negative rate,’’ he said. (NAN)