Proper data management is a weightier issue for many developing countries. Its relevance in modern economies is excessive and this explains why the political parties must strive to keep data and manage such pieces of information to make them accessible and reliable for its users.
The provision of reliable and verifiable data is a big challenge even in a technological era, allowing the politicians footloose in data communication to the public. Data Economics should be a new model for ensuring proper accountability tied to physically-delivered projects.
The parties bundle their own sets of data which may not be verifiable, to hoodwink many people into believing they perform excellently well. The level of development of the economy demands proper data management systems to accurately capture relevant pieces of information for economic planning. Data management can help solve many social and economic issues in our country.
Some Economists in Ghana still lament, at this age and time, the difficulty they have in accessing unemployment figures. The Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) together with the Controller and Accountant-General Department (in the case of public sector employments) usually provides such data. The two institutions need to harmonise their activities.
There can still be a modern data center for the collection, validation, analysis and reporting of data. The need to harmonise the pieces of information from different institutions of state is very grave. The harmonization cannot be done without having a quality repository for housing several pieces of information. Data management should be a culture that is imbued in the agents of many institutions to be relayed to the Center for usage by every organisation and individual.
In Ghana, data access is a big problem because of the fragmented nature of its collection and reporting (communication). The development of a modernized center for sharing information will help solve many problems. It is difficult to verify some pieces of information retrieved from some governmental websites and institutions. Quality data communication can help deliver quality services to the populace. Data consumers are numerous and the difficulty to access quality data for planning and other usages is worrying. Access to more quality data or pieces of information will help level the playing field in obtaining data. Banks need better information about their customers in assessing them for loans and other facilities.
Data has become a key input or ingredient in modern production, distribution and supply chain management. The need to innovate and integrate several relevant pieces of information for market research and product segment is demanding. This explains in part why governments must have quality data management policies. The proliferation of data in the in the Ghanaian economy will provide remarkable opportunity to boost economic growth and later development through production efficiency, allocative efficiency and innovative service delivery.
Governments have the responsibility of making policies to make data usage, transfer and processing clearly transparent. Privacy and secrecy of consumers need to be protected. Governments should make clear policies on data sharing, rights and obligations for the institutions that build datasets, the users and the people who offer pieces of information for the databank. The establishment of a Data Center will provide the following advantages:
The availability of quality data sets helps governments to measure progress or growth and ensures independent verification of facts. In Ghana, progress is difficult to measure due to the fragmented nature of the data available. It is difficult to measure the progress, of the country, in infrastructure and other sectors because it is practically difficult to access quality information that can be verified independently. Information on some infrastructural projects are concealed and not available to the public. For instance, there is lack of clarity on the progress made in infrastructure in education as different sets of data are reported.
The development of websites by key government institutions to help validate the claims of politicians should be a norm. The provision of data for consumption by persons within the public and private sectors will terminate spurious claims by politicians.
It will equally help government to identify where to provide additional facilities or new ones. For proper identification of key viable sectors of the economy, appropriate databank should be established for these sectors. Identification of key micro-sectors that have the potentials to add to the growth of the economy is important. Data is needed to incorporate people in the informal sector into the formal framework for tax purposes. The issuance of a national identity card may be the foundation that will lead to the final formalization of the economy. This will help to build quality data sets for those in the informal sector. In terms of infrastructure, there is the need to keep proper records which can be relied upon for informed decision-making.
The provision of many social intervention programmes need the use of quality data. In reality, many people who do not deserve to receive some social support services are the ultimate. For example, the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty Programme support services meant for the aged and other less privileged groups fall into the hands of energetic people. This phenomenon is occasioned by lack of proper available data.
Data management will help in impact assessment and value for money audit. Impact assessment which is akin to progress tracking is often difficult to make as there seems to be no data or pieces of information for such a purpose. Data on cost and beneficiaries of programmes do not exist for appropriate value for money audit. Impact assessments are key in analysing the value of opportunity cost for projects. The availability of data, collected and reported in appropriate forms helps in cost-benefit analysis.
Economic planning cannot be done without data. Governments economic planning covers many sectors and quality data available aid the decision makers to reach proper conclusions that produce “life-changing” results. Governments’ revenue mobilization programmes will work for the assemblies if the data they rely on are of superior quality.
Data Economics is the science of collecting, validating, analysing and communicating data for the creation of wealth and the maximization of economic opportunities. In the coming year, the political parties should develop proper systems in tracking and validating appropriate pieces of information (data) that serve the purposes of their users. The data provided by state institutions are fragmented and truncated, causing their usage to produce inefficiencies.
Emmanuel Kwabena Wucharey
Economics Tutor, A growing Activist, and Religion Enthusiast.