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14.11.2005 General News

Statistical Service must be strengthened - Baffour

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Accra, Nov. 14, GNA - Professor Gyan Baffour, Deputy Minister of Finance and Economic Planning, on Monday called for the strengthening of the structures of the Ghana Statistical Services (GSS) for it to contribute effectively to the nation's development drive. He said the Service in recent times had experienced a decline in its productivity and effectiveness. There were also delays in the release of relevant national statistics.

Prof. Baffour, who was speaking at the launch of this year's Ghana Statistical Service week celebration, said the decline in productivity had come at the time when there was increasing demand for timely and accurate data on basic and emerging issues of policy concerns. He observed that in order to meet the challenges posed by the growing need for statistics, the Service would have to be effective and efficient by using the limited resources to cover a wide terrain in terms of space and the highly diversified needs of users. The Deputy Minister mentioned lack of coherence in the national statistical system and inadequate cooperation among producers of statistics as major constraints that severely impinged on the nation's database.

Prof. Baffour noted that the GSS lacked the requisite institutional framework and a strategic plan to guide it to deliver up-to-date statistics.

He said to build and develop a strong reliable national statistical system that would be responsive to national needs and aspirations the status quo of the GSS must be changed.

The Deputy Minister stated that the Government would create the enabling environment for the Service to operate effectively and that the onus laid on the Service to strive to achieve the required results in terms of providing data that would largely boost national development. Prof. Baffour expressed regret that although the GSS was an important institution it had very low public visibility. "Enhancing the image of the GSS is crucial for effective production and use of national statistical information for national development." He also stressed the need for an improved work culture saying having the right attitude and culture to work was the expression of patriotism that must be reflected in the form of commitment and dedication, pro-activeness, discipline and resourcefulness. The Deputy Minister underscored the need to improve upon the working conditions of the workers, as it was necessary to boost growth and enhance productivity.

The Government Statistician, Dr Grace Bediako said in spite of the enormous constraints facing the Service it had played its role as the authoritative source of statistics for national development and served other corporate bodies appropriately.

She said this year's achievements covered a range of areas spanning data collection and dissemination as well as capacity building. Dr Bediako noted that the Service was expected to play a crucial role in partnership with the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) on monitoring and evaluating the GPRS II, improve the delivery of economic statistics and initiate the preparatory work for the 2010 population census.

The Ghana Statistical Service Week evolved from the annual celebration of the Africa Statistics Day, a day member states of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) set aside 12 years ago to draw attention to statistical development on the Continent. Ghana is joining other countries to celebrate the day, which falls on November 18. The weeklong celebration would involve dialogue with the public on the relevance of the Service and to raise the needed awareness.

It would also be used to take stock of the work of the Service, reflect on setbacks and fashion appropriate measures of improving upon its general performance.