September 8, 2017

For planning, inclusive development, Economist says to FG ‘develop data revolution policy’

A Luxembourg-based economist Mr Michel Mouyelo-Katoula has advised the Federal Government to develop data revolution policy and strategy to handle big volume of statistics for planning and inclusive development.

Mouyelo-Katoula, who is also an international Consultant on statistical issues, gave the advice in an interview with  newsmen on the sideline of the 3-day International Statistical Conference in Lagos.

Mouyelo-Katoula, a Congolese national, said Nigeria was ripe to develop a data revolution policy and implement it effectively.

“It is not only Nigeria but all governments in Africa should design their own policy and strategy on data revolution and big data.

“Unless this is done, it will not take even a year before we will come to realize that we are bombarded by data on our own reality that will be coming from outside.

“What it means is that it is the outside world that will be defining our reality.

“We will be losing the narrative on our own reality and system, so we need data revolution policy and strategy; that is urgent,’’ he said.

Mouyelo-Katoula said that data was surfacing the whole fabric of the society with the aid of technology, noting that the era of playing with data by statisticians alone was over.

The expert also said policy makers and citizens needed to develop data culture and understand the transformation happening in the global society.

“What it means is that, in a country that has understood what is going on and what should be done is to develop a data revolution policy.

“It is to develop a data revolution whereby every single citizen will be taking data, using data and will be aware that whatever they are doing translates into data in real time.

“As we are talking now, supposing that the digital recorder is a phone, I would have told you that we have already created a set of data.’’

According to him, data culture means that everyone should be thinking in terms of data and evidence.

He said everyone should know how to plan with data, adding that it was the task of everyone to field inputs into a design to create data.

“So citizens should not be passively receiving data, they should be active players, they should try to influence the process by becoming smart producers and users of data.’’

The expert said the reality in today’s world was that it would be possible for even someone who had not gone through statistics in university to do some basic things.

Mouyelo-Katoula said a person could do some basic statistical processes with the aid smart phone.

The expert said he believed with the current era of data revolution, adding that the world had gone beyond basic notions.

“We have gone beyond those basic notions as data becomes ubiquitous and no more borders barriers.

“ So, data on Nigeria can be collected by an institution or by people, who don’t even live in Nigeria, they can be collected from abroad and from every point in time.

“There are immense junks of data that can be gathered on any country, provided you have the technology and the science around data. So, you see that this is both a risk and an opportunity.

“A risk in the sense that, if a country concerned is not aware of what data and new era means, decision about the country may be driven from outside.

“This means, we will be counting on someone else to tell us who we are, how we are and what is our wealth etc.’’

Newsmen report that Mouyelo-Katoula presented a paper entitled ‘’ How useful Are Our Statistics to Governments at all Levels and Ordinary Citizens?’’ at the conference.