Tuesday, January 28, 2014

GBoS: Gambia government should endeavour to meet costs of data

The bureau’s annual budget have not been adequate for the implementation of its planned activities for the year 2012 (Photo Credit: GBoS)
The Gambia Bureau of Statistics, GBoS, has said on Monday that the Government [of The Gambia] appreciates the importance of statistic in the national and sectoral planning. 

However, it said the government should further appreciate the fact that production of timely and reliable data is costly and should endeavour to meet such costs.

GBoS Statistician General, Nkakassi Sanyang, revealed to the National Assembly’s joint Public Enterprises and Public Accounts committees (PEC/PAC) that “GBoS cannot meet all the statistical needs of the country.”

‘Budget not adequate’ 

He said the bureau’s annual budget have not been adequate for the implementation of its planned activities for the year 2012. 

“This resulted to some activities not being implemented creating data gaps in the statistical system,” he added when presenting GBoS’s annual activity report for 2012 to the committees for scrutiny.

Sanyang suggested that sectoral planning units that are newly established should identify sectoral data needs and collaborate with GBoS in the production of such data.

“Capacity should also be built in the planning units of sectors in the usage of data for monitoring interventions in their sectors,” he said on January 27. 

He recommended that more resources be made available not just to GBoS but also to major statistical operations undertaken by sectors such as agriculture, health and education.

He said as the economy is fast growing and there is need to have a critical mass of statistical personnel across all sectors “it is recommended that a statistical training centre be established to cater for the growing number of statistical personnel needed.” 

Requisite resources lacking

GBoS’s Statistician General repeated that training is a pre-requisite to develop the national statistical capacity. He said in absence of a national statistical training centre, long term training in statistics and related fields can only be pursued overseas.

“Llack of requisite resources for such trainings is a major constrain in developing statistical capacity within GBoS and National Statistical System (NSS),” Sanyang said, noting that the bureau has only been sending its staff to India for one year diploma training under India Government scholarships.

However, he said despite the challenges in 2012, GBoS continued with its core mandate of routine data collection, processing, analysis and disseminating. He said the bureau was involved in the conduct of ad hoc socio-economic surveys conducted largely in collaboration with sister agencies within and outside of government.

He noted that routine data collection exercise relate to consumer prices indices, producer prices indices, government finance statistics, national accounts, trade and transport statistics.

Different year 

The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), which is responsible for advising institutions on procurement issues, said it found GBoS 64 per cent compliant. 

Alieu Saho, Director of National Accounts GPPA, said GBoS statement of receipt and payments for year ended 31 December, 2012 is D13, 550, 364.45 compared to D13, 419, 455.94 a year earlier.

Hon. Abdoulie Bojang, Speaker of the National Assembly, GBoS appearance before the PEC\PAC committees for the past years where shrouded in so many queries, but this year is different. 

He encourages the management to keep up the momentum in their drive to transforming GBoS into high standard institution.

GBoS’s reports on its activity and financial dealings for 2012 were adopted by the National Assembly.

Written by Modou S. Joof

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