Professor George Gyan-Baffour, the Minister of Planning, has said the production of Statistics in Ghana is generally weak and uncoordinated at the various decentralised institutions.
“However, citizens are better reached, more effectively served and adequately planned for when policy and decision-making are informed by reliable, quality and adequate statistics,” he explained.
He said strengthening the National Statistical System (NSS) to ensure the proper coordination for statistics production and use by the institutions for evidence-based decision-making would, therefore, go a long way to enhance decision-making and ensure that no one was left behind at any level.
Prof Gyan-Baffour was speaking at the launch of the National Statistical Assessment Survey Report on Strengthening Statistics in National Development Planning.
The report is to establish the state of statistical development and requirements for evolving a dependable and well-coordinated NSS.
It is also to identify the relative strengths and weaknesses of the system and assess the capacities of the Ministries, Department and Agencies, Regional Coordinating Councils and the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies for generating routine data.
He said statistics were increasingly playing critical roles on decision-making of the country, adding that reliable, timely and accessible statistics were thus crucial for informing policy decisions and effective monitoring of the progress of development agenda.
He said an improved statistical system would also help the country to undertake Voluntary National Review on the implementation of the SDGs, which the country was to present to the high level political forum at the United Nations in 2019.
Prof Gyan-Baffour said, “We need to track the progress of implementing plans in detail so citizens could keep up with the growth momentum, to improve the standards of living of the people and avoid any shock that could throw the country off the course of sustained inclusive growth.”
The Minister also said a coherent and responsive statistical system provided the fundamental basis for the State in planning and monitoring of development policies and programmes for citizens.
Dr Grace Bediako, the Acting Director-General, National Development Planning Commission, said the report provided the challenges the country had to address to improve the NSS.
She said for decades now, the availability and accessibility of quality data had been at the centre of global development agenda and this had also influenced the national development agenda, as evidenced by the strategies aimed at strengthening the NSS.
She said the assessment survey findings, which were being reported, had been conceived of and implemented by a joint NDPC and GSS Statistics Advisory Committee set up by the Governing Board of NDPC to advance the availability and surety of statistics within the national planning system for evidenced-based decision-making and for informed citizen’s participation in transparent and accountable governance.
Dr Clement Adamba of the School of Education and Leadership, University of Ghana, presenting the findings and recommendations, said some of the major factors affecting statistics production and access in Ghana were funding, technical infrastructure, lack of skilled personnel, weak central coordinating system for statistics and standardisation of statistical activities.
On recommendations, he said there should be the institutionalisation of statistics production and also the establishment of a multi-sectoral coordinating agency.
There should also be a legal framework to reflect international standards, investment in the financing of production, investment in ICT, as well as the institutionalisation of monitoring and evaluation in data production at all levels.