By Aisha Tamba
Information Minister Ebrima Sillah was full of praise for the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) programme.
“It informs us of data availability and paucity during the period and allows for adjustment when necessary, for example, if an unplanned government project or programme is introduced which is not captured in any development programme,” he said at a launching of the second-generation of the NSDS-II 2018-2019 in The Gambia.
NSDS was formulated to enable The Gambia build a reliable statistical system that produces the data necessary to design, implement and monitor national development policies and programmes.
Minister Sillah explained that the NSDS is a multi-year statistical development programme which outlines all the key activities to be implemented by the National Statistical System (NSS).
He said the idea is to plan activities of the NSS efficiently. He said this will help coordinate work between producers of official statistics.
He said the programme legitimatises data collection from respondents and formalise administrative data provision
“In the case of The Gambia, the NSDS II was developed in line with the NDP 2018-2021 and therefore it is in place to provide most of the needed data for its assessment,” he said.
He said statistics are very critical for evidence-based decision-making and should therefore be aligned with national and international development agendas.
“The Gambia has the Vision 2020 framework which has been the basis for the Poverty Reduction Strategy Paper (PRSP) programme which were later followed by the Programme for Accelerated Growth and Employment (Page) covering the period 2012-2015, and now the National Development Plan for the period 2018-2021.
“Data generated through NSDS II will provide reliable assessments of key economic and social strategies at the national and sectoral levels and also cover all aspects of development including measures of economic output and those of the well-being of the citizens/individuals of the society.
“Policy formulation and critical decision-making also require good and timely statistics.
Similarly, adequate statistics are needed to measure the efficiency of service delivery and the determination of resources in an efficient manner,” he explained.
He revealed that the full implementation of the NSDS II was estimated to have cost US$29,291,000.
He called on the relevant government sectors, development partners, the private sector, civil society organisations and all other partners to support the implementation process.
“Statistics is a public good and therefore should be everyone’s business to ensure that timely quality data are produced and disseminated,” he concluded.