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29.10.2008 General News

Statistician bemoans improper statistical data for development


The Government Statistician, Dr Grace Bediako, has said there is a need for adequate statistical data for better management of resources and decision-making to set proper development targets.

She expressed concern that a lot of gaps and problems such as the lack of effective collaboration and coordination were hampering efforts at harmonizing the collation of the relevant data to facilitate this.

Dr Bediako said for instance Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as the Metropolitan, Municipal and District assemblies all had “slight differences” in the definition of data and applied different codes and statistics.

She said as a result, statistics available to users do not reflect the methodology used, nor is there any transparency and this had “brought about some confusion” in the field.

She was speaking at a day's workshop organised by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) to sensitize officials of Regional Planning and Coordinating Units (RPCUs), representatives of some media houses, NGOs and Civil Based Organisations (CBOs) on two 'strategic documents', namely the “National (Ghana) Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) and the GSS Corporate Plan, in Cape Coast.

The NSDS is a sector-wide strategy that seeks to bring on board all statistics producing MDAs and institutions under the National Statistical System (NSS) with the GSS playing an effective coordinating role.

The GSS Corporate Plan which will span four years (2009-2013), would provide the administrative and management base for the implementation of both documents.

The two documents are slated for finalization soon and the sensitization workshops are being held nationwide to assure users of improved statistical products, as the GSS engages more partners in a coherent approach to statistical production and dissemination, to among others, solicit support and cooperation from both producers and users of statistics with a view to enhancing statistics production.

Dr Bediako stressed the need to “organize ourselves well” for the regular collation of the requisite data, adding that the two documents would help to synchronize data collection and reduce the number of ad hoc data collection activities and called on the participants to make the requisite inputs to help achieve the desired results.

Throwing light on the work of the GSS and the Electoral Commission (EC), she explained that the GSS only reports on “numbers” released by the EC in the course of its work, and cannot in anyway “influence” such numbers.

Mr Kofi Agyeman-Duah, Head of Capacity Building Division of the GSS, said there is the need for more students to be trained in statistics to enable the nation to meet the requirement of the NSS in order to assist planners and not rely on population census figures due to the irregularity of this event.

This is because due to the lack of requisite human resources and logistical support, the NSS is unable to provide a significant proportion of the data required to monitor development programmes like GPRS II and the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Some pf the participants stressed the need for the GSS to ensure that staff of the Service are posted to all districts and other organisations to enhance data collection.