Statistics - tools in policy-making



In an effort to come up with a stronger Namibian Statistical System (NSS) the Namibian parliament passed the Statistical Act (Act 11 of 2011).
However, in order for it to be successful, there has to be national involvement in the matter.
National Planning Commission director general, Tom Alweendo said while the new law provides the basis for developing and building a strong statistical system, it does not guarantee that this will be done.
“It is a necessary condition for future development of statistics but by no means can it be considered to be sufficient.
“The development of our national statistical system is too important to be left to the statisticians alone. We, all of us, producers and users of statistics, politicians, private sector business people and citizen alike have to be involved,”  Alweendo said at the user-producer workshop held recently.
However, the NSS which is still a new concept in the country and face challenges such as the high cost of collection of data, dissemination of information as well as collecting data in a timely.
The most emphasised on the issue at the user-producer workshop was public sceptism when it comes to the credibility of the data collected.
“Our data is very reliable as it is analysed scientifically. Let us not challenge the integrity of the statistics. Our crisis is not the availability of our data but the use of statistics in terms of implementing them into addressing problems and come up with answers,” Albius Mwiya, Deputy Director of employment services in the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare.
Alweendo noted that statistics are vital in the realisation of Vision 2030 and the expansion of the economy.
He said: “A strong statistics system is seen as a tool to present up to date and reliable statistical information that can provide evidence to identify issues, help develop policies whilst there can be monitoring and evaluation for previous policies; this will take the country a step forward realisation of the Vision 2030.”
The development of a strong NSS also requires the availability of the right technological tools such as IT tools and software to produce timely, understandable data methodology as pointed out by Ndamona Kali, Deputy Director NSA.
Kali also noted that there is need of educating data providers in understanding the value of collecting data. She emphasised on the fact that they need to work out the best process of collecting data as accessing it can be difficult.
An adequate communication between users and producers of statistical data was found to be necessary hence there is need of forming a committee of users and producers of data in order to improve communication and push the users to take a pro-active role in the matter.
“Statistics data do also get expired, hence we need to collect new information regularly, we do hear the cry of timely, accurate statistic system but we need the input of users as well,” said Mwiya.