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Statistician general warns against lack of systematic assessment of data quality

Feb 6, 2020, 12:24 PM | Article By: Ismaila Sonko

Nyakassi M.B. Sanyang, the statistician general at The Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS) has affirmed that the production of high quality statistics depends on the assessment of data quality. He indicated that without a systematic assessment of data quality ‘we will risk losing control of the various statistical processes’.

Sanyang made these remarks during the recent data quality assessment framework (DQAF) dissemination workshop held at a local hotel in Kotu on Tuesday.

He warned that without data quality assessment it would result in assuming that the processes cannot be further improved and that problems will always be detected without systematic analysis.

He informed that during the development of the second National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS-II), it clearly came to light that practically, most institutions in the National Statistics System (NSS) have weak statistics systems. This, he added, are mostly fragmented resulting in the low profile of statistics in the official statistics environment.

In order to improve the statistics environment, the statistician general, said an assessment to identify quality related features of governance of statistical systems, statistical processes and statistical products needs to be undertaken.

The National Statistical System, he went on, improves rapidly with increased data production for policy and decision making, highlighting the urgent need for GBoS to develop a DQAF and conduct the data quality assessment (DQA) for key sectors, including economic and social statistics to ensure data quality.

Josselin Amalfi, economist and programme manager, Trade and Good Governance at the European Union office in The Gambia, said National Strategy for Statistics Development (NSDS) The Gambia expressed the institution’s ambition to fill data gaps as well as to ensure quality statistics.

“In fact, good quality data is useful for a variety of stakeholders, policymakers in government and in the National Assembly, businesses, the media and the public at large. Poor quality data on the other hand can show decision makers the wrong way, cannot hold them accountable do not build and sustain economic activities,” he declared.

Those, he said, are the reasons why it is essential for The Gambia to have its data quality assessment framework (DQAF) as a proven tool for statistics producers and users.

He noted that a total budget of 2.5 MEUR is available for the implementation of project, equivalent to 140M GMD, recalling that since October 2018 the European Union (EU) technical assistant has been supportive and engaging The Gambia Bureau of Statistics in activities to facilitate the implementation of the National Statistics Development Strategy.

Sanyang maintained that similar training was provided to statistics users designed to increase awareness about official statistics- media, civil society organisations, private sector, government officials and political leaders.

He thus encouraged the National Statistical System to continue its effort to have a quality data that will boost the country’s economy and society.