The Statistician-General of the Federation and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), Dr. Yemi Kale, has foreclosed any immediate plans to rebase the country’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Kale stated this at a forum on Effective Reporting of the Travel and Tourism Industry Using Appropriate Date organised by the Association of Travel and Tourism Writers of Nigeria (ATTWON) held in Lagos at the weekend.
The NBS CEO in response to Daily Sun inquiry on Nigerians concern that an expanded economy has not translated to meaningful life for the citizens, Kale explained that there are global standards and frameworks for benchmarking GDPs.
‘‘It is not something that national economies do often. We did it at that time because the GDP was complied based on old systems and things needed to be modernised to make it easier to compare between countries because there are standards in which these accounts are compiled. And we wanted to bring Nigeria into that net, that was why we did that at that time,’’ he stated.
On statistics for tourism in Nigeria, the NBS boss said in 2015, there were 1.3 million international tourist arrivals into Nigeria, a figure that puts the country at the 11th highest destination in Africa that year. This figure, according to him, accounted for just 1.3 percent of total international tourism receipts for Africa, behind South Africa, Mauritius, Uganda, Tunisia, and Morocco.
But in order to promote a more evidenced-based approach to policy making, and to inform policy interventions to grow the tourism industry, Kale stated NBS has taken a keen interest in improving the framework for tourism statistics.
‘’At theNBS, we are committed to the Tourism Satellite Accounts framework, recommended by the UN World Tourism Organisation, as a method for compiling tourism statistics. In simple terms, the TSA framework links tourism and travel statistics with the national accounts framework which underpins the calculation of the GDP.”
He explained that, the framework attempts to capture the true size and importance of all tourism related activities within the economy by showing the links between tourism and the total environment in which tourism components occur.
He stressed that given the nature of tourism and the largely informal state of the Nigerian economy until recently, tourism date has been disaggregated and often times fragmented.
He disclosed that the NBS has begun to build the structure to compile the Tourism Satellite Account (TSA), adding that there is already a collaboration between NBS and other stakeholders, such as the National Tourism Development Corporation (NTDC), the Ministry of Information, Culture and Tourism, the National Immigration Service, and other Departments and Agencies, to build a system of tourism statistics that will feed into TSA.