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By: Nghiinomenwa Erastus

In his new year message, the newly appointed chairperson of the country statistics agency, Salomo Hei, emphasized the importance of good and timely statistics for the country to enable informed decisions.

Currently, the country is however running and planning using old social-economic statistics.

Policymakers and all the latest government documents are quoting the country’s unemployment rate of 2018 of 33,4% despite three years past with the worst job shedding-year of 2020 to 2021.

Despite the ministry of labour’s quarterly update of job losses, job losses are being reported at the sectoral level, including last week’s report that the tourism-related sector retrenched around 31 000 people last year.

Last year the government postponed the national census citing that the funds were shifted to other priorities. The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) did not do its labour force survey.

Much worse, the country’s poverty statistics are archaic, with most of the reports and speeches using the 2013/14 data to represent the poverty and inequality level of the country.

Another puzzling scenario that can be solved by timely and reliable data is the primary school enrolment fiasco that clouds the education sector every calendar year.

Hei explained that statistics is increasingly shaping decisions, interactions, and progress in his statement.

While “good and timely statistics enable us to make better, more informed choices about the things that matter most in our society, economy and livelihoods,” said the economist.

He added that all Namibians must have access to statistics they can trust.

Hei also updated the nation that the national census that got postponed last will happen this year in August.

He said NSA has begun preparations for the 2021 Census and strengthened their position as the functional leaders of the national statistical system.

The National Planning Commission made available the budget appropriation needed to execute what is termed the largest ever census in the country following the mapping exercise, which was done last year.

The chairperson also highlighted that they have been busy developing a transformational new strategy that puts the agency on course to deliver a professional service around institutional reform, which is ambitious, inclusive, and sustainable over the past few months.

He explained that the new strategic plan is a mechanism for identifying opportunities, driving progress, and delivering work of influence and impact.

At the centre of the new strategic plan is a commitment to ensuring NSA work has a positive impact on the lives of Namibians now and into the future.

The new strategic plan will be launched at the end of March 2022.

Hei said the statistics agency is well-positioned to play a key role in how the country tackles the challenges and embraces the opportunities presented by the changing world we find ourselves in.

The chairperson also extended his gratitude to the development partners and the private sector that came onboard with donations to support the rolling out of the census. Email:


Julia Heita

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