Business News of 2014-07-21

Slow dev't linked to data scarcity

Deputy Minister of Finance Cassiel Ato Forson says the inability of government to carry out effective planning, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes is partly due to lack of accurate and real-time access to data.

"At this stage of the country's development, we need an efficient national statistical system that can generate timely, accurate and reliable data to help us plan, measure and manage our development efforts.

"Most of the challenges facing government, civil society organisations and businesses, as far as planning, monitoring and evaluation of policies and programmes is concerned, are partly due to lack of accurate and timely data.

"We need statistics; better statistics for better development outcomes. As a country, we cannot do without an efficient data system," he said at the launch of the Ghana Statistics Development Project (GSDP) in Accra.

The Ghana Statistics Development Project (GSDP) is a five-year initiative aimed at strengthening the National Statistics System (NSS) in the production and dissemination of timely and robust statistics relevant for evidence-based policymaking.

The project is a collaboration between the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and the World Bank, together with nine other ministries. It is being funded with a grant of US$10million from the Dutch and British governments and a credit of US$30million from the International Development Association (IDA). Government statistician Philomena Nyarko made the case for an effective and well-managed centralised national database infrastructure and streamlined data processes that will ensure easy access to data among public institutions, and also prevent data duplication.

She said having such a system in place will strengthen the country's statistics system in the production and dissemination of timely and robust statistics, and it will also be relevant for evidence-based policymaking and other data-related uses among public institutions.

"We need statistics to govern the country; at any given time, we should be aware of the number of people and businesses as well as what is being imported into the country.

"We need data to guide governmental projects and good governance in general; we therefore need a centralised database system to provide timely and ready access to data for public use as well as do away with data duplication, which is as a result of public institutions processing data for private use.

"This project is therefore to work toward acquiring such an infrastructure to improve data gathering, processing and storage."

Mrs. Nyarko said the project will encompass institutional reform and organisational change through capacity building and efficient rationalisation to ensure efficiency and increased performance. It will facilitate data production and management to enhance existing statistics and increase the range of statistics collected and how such data are effectively disseminated.

Source: B&FT
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