President Buhari says World Bank, IMF data are not reliable


President Muhammadu Buhari has called for local data collection that is not dependent on foreign support, stating that data from international bodies like World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) are not reliable because they are developed abroad.

The President said while his administration welcomes support from international data agencies, he believes the country will be better off with local agencies offering statistics on activities within Nigeria.

He made this comment on his official Twitter account “@MBuhari” while addressing the role of data in policymaking. President Buhari tweeted that for policies to be tailored in line with the reality of Nigeria, the country needs data that reflects true events within the country.

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According to him, the data on Nigeria provided by the World Bank and IMF are ludicrous because they do not reflect the reality of Nigeria. President Buhari stated that the data collated abroad are wild estimates that bear little relation to the facts on ground.

President Buhari tweeted that his administration could only plan realistically with reliable data. The lack of data has prompted him to direct the Presidential Economic Advisory Council to prioritize the collection of primary data.

“We must domesticate our policies to reflect our local realities. While we very much welcome the cooperation and support we are getting from our friends abroad, it is important to make it clear that Nigeria can only truly move forward with homegrown solutions.

“This must extend to data collection as well. Today, most of the statistics quoted about Nigeria are developed abroad by the World Bank, IMF and other foreign bodies. Some of these statistics are wild estimates that bear little relation to the facts on the ground.

“We can only plan realistically when we have reliable data. As a government, we are taking very serious steps to improve the quality of data available for policymaking, and today I charged the Presidential Economic Advisory Council to prioritize the collection of Primary data,” President Buhari tweeted.

Not totally correct

The statement that foreign agencies like World Bank, International Monetary fund and other international agencies develop their data abroad is not true. These agencies have collaboration with countries through their representatives of which Nigeria is among some.

Sometimes, they seek data from government agencies or institutions depending on the professional standards in the collection and compilation. World Bank itself stated on its website that, “Much of the data comes from the statistical systems of member countries, and the quality of global data depends on how well these national systems perform.”

Some foreign agencies fund research by local sources in countries they are gathering data on. World Bank’s Data Group according to its website post works with other organizations on new statistical methods, data collection activities and statistical capacity-building programs.

Why is Buhari worried?

Most times, countries reject data that doesn’t put them in good light but these international data agencies are not working as a mouthpiece for these governments. They only provide data that helps governments while formulating policies and guild citizens as well as investors.

President Buhari’s criticism of the data process of the World Bank and IMF is shocking because both are not providing data to Nigeria alone, they provide data for all member-countries.

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