Statistics Bill reaches consideration stage

Prof. Samuel Annim, Government Statistician

Parliament has inserted a provision in the Statistics Bill, 2018 which mandates all Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) as well as Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs), to submit their respective data to the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) as a means of harmonizing data processing in the country.

The Bill has reached the consideration stage after going through the first and second readings on the floor of parliament. It was presented to parliament on 11th December 2018 and was subsequently referred to the Parliamentary Select Committee on Finance, for consideration and report. Being at the consideration stage suggests that the Bill could be approved soon.

The purpose of the Bill is to establish the Statistical Service to be the central statistics producing and co-ordinating body in the country for the National Statistical System.  What this implies is that data would be managed effectively by the Ghana Statistical Service for use by all institutions and individuals.

This is in response to the current trend whereby  most institutions and individuals have continuously expressed various degree of concerns about the data quality disseminated in the country.  It is expected that the implementation of the Bill would largely address the challenges.

Its passage is intended to establish an integrated National Statistical System; provide for mechanisms for coordination, collection, management and dissemination of statistics; promote the use of statistical data and information at individual, institutional, national and international levels.

It will also provide for the production and compilation of official statistics in a transparent and impartial manner; ensure the protection of personal data collected for statistical compilation purposes as well as build sustainable capacity for the production and use of statistical data and information for planning purposes.

Having reliable and efficient data would enable the country to monitor its progress towards the Sustainable Developmental Goals (SDGs).

Recently, representatives from Statistics Denmark were in Ghana to examine how Ghana Statistical Service generates its economic statistics for administrative purposes and later proposed measures to benchmark Ghana’s economic performance with what is being practiced in Denmark.