Poverty alleviation: FG plans budget allocation for geospatial data

The Minister of State, Budget and National Planning, Clem Agba, has disclosed that the Federal Government plans to include an allocation for geospatial data in the budgets of government agencies.

He was represented by his SA, Dr Zakari Lawal, during the sensitization workshop on the use of geospatial data for development planning and decision-making in Abuja on Tuesday.

According to the minister, the Federal Government has made a provision for monitoring and evaluation of projects in the country, further noting that this will be replicated for geospatial information system.

He said, “Recently, the ministry secured the approval of the Federal Executive Council on its national M&E policy. We ensure that there is budget for M&E across all MDAs since 2011.

“Part of what we have done again is to introduce another budget line for the geospatial information system. Just as we have budget line for M&E, now going forward, we will also ensure that there is a budget line for the implementation of geospatial information system.

“We have started that with the Federal Ministry of Finance, Budget and National Planning. Going forward, we want to ensure that every agency has this budget line.”

He added that the government wants every project to be geo-located for transparency, accountability and effectiveness.

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The minister also stressed the role of geospatial data in fighting poverty in the country.

“Data is critical to fighting poverty. You can’t fight poverty in Nigeria without having a good grasp of the geospatial information system implementation because you have to know where the poor are,” he said.

The Director of Data Quality Management at the National Population Commission, Mrs Foluke Adebayo, stressed the need for geospatial data.

She noted that during the COVID-19 pandemic, georeferenced data was critical in helping the government determine the poor and vulnerable, who became beneficiaries of the cash transfer programme under the national social safety net programme financed by the World Bank.

“During the COVID, the government wanted to share things with people, we did not know where these people are. But with georeferenced population data, we know how many households there is in a particular entity. We also know what is the total number of persons within that households, where are they located and what is their earning capacity so that when there is any rapid relief intervention, with georeferenced population data, we know where the people are. We also know how to distribute whatever is going to be distributed equitably so that there is just in whatever we are doing and the resources of the nation can be well managed in the right direction,” she said.

She further noted that such data helps in determining areas that require infrastructural development and areas that may be considered as security high-risk.

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