By: Aji Fatou Faal
The Statistician General of The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) has suggested that a Statistical Training Centre be established to cater for the growing number of the needed personnel. He underscored that as the economy is fast growing, there is the need to have a critical mass of statistical personnel across all sectors.
Speaking Monday while presenting his institution’s annual activity report and audited financial statements to the members of the Public Accounts and Public Enterprise Committees of the National Assembly, Nyakassi MB Sanyang also recommended that more resources be made available not just to GBoS, but also to major statistical operations undertaken by sectors such as agriculture, health and education. He said in as much as the government appreciates the importance of statistics in national and sectoral planning, it should further appreciate the fact that production of timely and reliable statistical data is costly and should endeavour to meet such costs.
“GBoS cannot meet all the statistical needs of the country. Sectoral planning units that are newly established should identify sectoral data needs and collaborate with GBoS in the production of such data. Capacity should also be built in the planning units of sectors in the usage of data for monitoring interventions in their sectors,” he further suggested.
Sanyang also told lawmakers that conditions of service for statistical personnel within and outside GBoS should be improved upon to minimise high attrition rate.
Highlighting their constraints, the GBoS boss lamented that the budgets approved for the Bureau annually have not been adequate for the implementation of its planned activities for the year. This, he informed, resulted to some activities not being implemented, thus creating data gaps in the statistical system.
2013 Population and Housing Census
Sanyang also told the Committee that the long-term objectives of the 2013 Population and Housing Census is to improve the knowledge on main characteristics of the population in the country to better understand the inter-relationships of the population and development; build a data capture system that is sustainable and always available for document management for the GBoS and other government departments/agencies; analyse demographic and related socio-economic data/information at the national and sub-national levels; publish reports on thematic areas and disseminate these findings through seminars, workshops, internet and the mass media to engender wider access to information and for better integration of demographic variables in developing planning; and establish a geo-reference system of demographic and socio-economic information or planning and management.
“The short-term objectives include to develop skills of the GBoS staff; Geographic Information System (GIS), data collection, data processing, analysis, data dissemination and utilisation; to improve availability, accessibility and utilisation of census outputs in a timely manner; to identify population characteristics for the purpose of guiding socio-economic policies and programmes; to update the enumeration area maps and district maps for use in sampling frame for inter-censual surveys, etc,” he indicated.
He also told deputies that during the year 2012, the GBoS continued with its core mandate of routine data collection, processing, analysis and dissemination. In addition to that, he informed that the Bureau was involved in the conduct of ad-hoc socio-economic surveys conducted largely in collaboration with sister agencies both within and outside government.
A senior compliance officer at The Gambia Public Procurement Authority (GPPA), Ibraima Sanyang, said that for the period under review, GBoS was found to be partially complaint with the Public Procurement Act 2001 and Regulations 2003. The Committee subsequently adopted the reports after scrutiny.