Minister for Budget and Economic Planning, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has emphasized the crucial role of geospatial technology in effective economic planning and development of Nigeria, saying that geospatial data has the transformative power and potential to drive evidence-based decision-making.

The Minister who made this known while addressing relevant stakeholders at the Geospatial Ecosystem Roundtable Meeting, yesterday, in Abuja, stressed that accurate and up-to-date geospatial information  was essential for policymakers to understand the dynamics of various sectors and make informed choices that could lead to sustainable economic growth.

Bagudu underscored the need for collaboration between government agencies, private sector stakeholders and the geospatial community to harness the full potential of geospatial data to support data sharing, standardization and capacity building to build a robust geospatial ecosystem for national development goals.

Senator Bagudu also underlined the significance of integrating geospatial technology into various sectors such as: agriculture, urban planning, transportation, and disaster management for policymakers to identify areas of improvement, optimize resource allocation and implement targeted interventions that address specific challenges.

The Minister highlighted the government’s commitment to investing in geospatial infrastructure and capacity development, expressing his optimism about the future of the geospatial ecosystem in Nigeria. He assured that by leveraging the power of geospatial technology, the country could achieve sustainable development, improve service delivery and enhance the overall well-being of its citizens.

According to the Minister, the Roundtable meeting with relevant stakeholders remained crucial to the current administration’s Renewed Hope agenda which aimed at improving social welfare inclusion and security in the country.  He added that the use of geospatial data was vital and central to Nigeria’s developmental efforts and it needed to be well streamlined and coordinated for synergy.

“Strengthening the policy framework for synergy and collaboration in the geospatial ecosystem, as well as identifying relevant use cases for geospatial data in line with the government’s agenda is of utmost importance.

Earlier, the Permanent Secretary in the Ministry,  Mr. Nebeolisa Anako, explained that the Geo-Reference Infrastructure Demographic Data for Development (GRID3) stakeholders meeting was organized to further deepen the collaboration in production and utilization of geospatial data for evidence-based planning and programme delivery.

According to him, the GRID3 as an Inter MDAs Initiative aims to facilitate the production, collection, utilization and dissemination of high-resolution data on population distribution, administrative based maps of settlements, development infrastructure and sub-national boundaries to support the achievement of national development priorities, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other humanitarian efforts.

While saying that geospatial technology was central to development planning for the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning, the Permanent Secretary maintained that GRID3 constituted an important component of National Monitoring and Evaluation system.

Also, the GRID3 Nigeria Country representative, Nasiru ALIU disclosed that the meeting would help chat a way forward on appropriate utilization of data in Nigeria by bringing together all the relevant national stakeholders in the ecosystem to discuss mandates, synergy and collaborations around the production utilization and use of the special data.

He said “ This gathering is meant to address the critical issues or challenges across various sectors. So, we are gathering here today through the commitment of the federal government of Nigeria at the Ministry of Budget and Economic Planning to bring everyone on the table to find out what are the challenges what are the issues and how can we strengthen collaboration among these agencies that are data-producing agencies and data users to know how the challenges can be fully converted into potentials for Nigeria.”

He emphasized the importance of having up-to-date population data for the implementation of development plans “it’s also very important to see how we can utilize new technology and the reason is that there are a lot of new innovations, we have seen things happening in other African countries and beyond which Nigeria must also key into.