Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, inaugurated the Nigeria National Steering Committee and Nigeria National Technical Committee for  Geo-Referenced Infrastructure and Demographic Data for Development) GRID3 Nigeria.

GRID3 Nigeria project works across all states in Nigeria to collect accurate, complete and location data relevant to a variety of sectors.

GRID3 aims to generate, validate and use geospatial data on population, settlements, infrastructure and administrative boundaries.

Zainab Ahmed, the Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning chairs the GRID3 NNSC while Clem Agba, the Minister of State for Finance, Budget and National Planning, is the co-chairman.

The GRID3 NNTC is chaired by Yemi Kale, Statistician-General of the National Bureau of Statistics, while Dr Faisal Shuaib, the Executive Director, National Primary Healthcare Development Agency is the co-chairman.

Osinbajo while inaugurating the committees said geospatial data of  the scope and depth envisaged by the project was  important for Nigeria’s  development objectives and ambitions, especially with the issues of education.

“I think it is compelling, also there is a great need for this, and this will be extremely useful for planning and extremely, especially to everybody who is involved in the entire development enterprise.

“I think financial inclusion initiative will also benefit greatly from the GRID3 project.

“I think also there is some ingenuity about having the committees, about having double membership of the committees because that can enable data users and generators to come together and be able to interact at the same time.’’

Osinbajo said that it was worthwhile to mention that the GRID3 would be an open source platform as it would be available to everybody who was interested, especially for research and specialised work.

In an overview of GRID3 Nigeria, Agba said that the commitment was to freely provide high quality geospatial data layers.

He said that it was aimed at promoting the utilisation of geospatial data for better decision-making and delivery of interventions.

Ahmed, who was presented the GRID3 goals, said that it aimed at developing and promoting examples of data usage on health, education, agriculture, and water resources among others.

“Support planned national population and housing census activities and surveys.

“Develop in-country capacity to maintain and drive GRID3 philosophy in a sustainable manner and to continue to maintain and update the data portal.’’

She said the roles and responsibilities of the NNSC were to ensure that GRID3 aligned with national priority agenda.

The minister said that NNSC would review and approve annual project work plans generated by the NNTC and assess progress in achieving its outcomes among others.

She listed some responsibilities of NNTC to include developing annual work plans for the NNSC to approve, identifying and prioritising government establishments for impactful GRID3 use-cases among others.

In a goodwill message, Paul Bassinga, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Nigeria Country Director, said that polio eradication efforts in Nigeria was impressive as it could be declared polio-free by mid-2020.

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Also speaking, Christopher Pycroft, Department for International Development representative, said that the inauguration of the committees would be a milestone in collaboration between all stakeholders.