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Statistics Sierra Leone holds data producers, users’ workshop

July 25, 2019

By Frederick V. Kanneh

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From left to right: Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Yakama Jones and Statistician General, Professor Osman Sankoh

Statistic Sierra Leone has on Wednesday, July 24, held a national workshop for data producers and users at the Miata Conference centre in Freetown.

Chairman, Statistics Sierra Leone Council, who doubles as the chairman of the workshop, Moses L. Williams, narrated that the institution came into existence in 2008 and that it serves as a tool to government and others, including development partners, students and people from other sectors of life in planning their developmental action plans.

He said due to the nature of their work, they needed all the support in order to live up to expectations and emphasized the significance of the workshop, which brought together both data producers and users together.

“Before now, we only had data entry clerks who used the manual ways of processing data. And you would agree with me that it is stressful if one is using the manual way to collect data because in the instance that the brain is tired the credibility of that data would be in question. But, we are happy to inform you all that we have introduced  Tablets which would now be  used by our enumerators to collect credible data in a fast an easy manner,” he said.

On his part, Statistician General, Professor Osman Sankoh, Alias “Mallam O”, noted that, the very reason why Sierra Leone has over the years fluctuated between 183 and 184 out of 189 in the United Nations Development Programme’s  (UNDP) Human Development Index (HDI) report was as a result of the country’s lack of proper database system.

 He added that the UNDP rates a country’s Human Development Index through data provided by the said country, adding that Sierra Leone had not been presenting data to the UNDP hence, the ones used were estimated figures.

“The reason why other African countries were rated high over Sierra Leone was because they had a proper database system. We cannot say the UNDP hates Sierra Leone for always rating us at the bottom of the report. It is because when they are ready for the rating, all other countries would present accurate and credible data system while Sierra Leone has none, so the UNDP would just produce any data for us based on estimation. But we are now happy that we have got the political will, so we can now produce a “BONGOLISED” data report for any data contest in the world,” he said.

The UNDP representative who doubles as the National Economist at the Strategic Advisory Unit, Milton Korseh Hindowa, was quick to say that the progress of any country depends on quality data.

He further stated that, the provision of quality data requires many components, including the management of associated capabilities and challenges, because data users always expect accurate, consistence, timely and quality data.

He added that the workshop was meant to express the said ideas since it was between both data producers and users.

“I want to assure Statistics Sierra Leone that the UNDP would continue to support them in their strides to produce quality data that meet international standards,” he said.

In his statement before officially declaring the workshop opened, Deputy Minister of Planning and Economic Development, Dr. Yakama Jones, quickly expressed his gratitude to Statistics -SL for choosing him as the keynote speaker of the orkshop, which he described as all important to the very existence of the country.

He said as politicians, they look for three issues to determine whether a credible statistics institution exist in a country.

He said the issues they look for ranges  from  proper coordination of statistics, which deals with data collection within the country and the lack of which would result badly to the country as poor decision would be made in prioritizing development in the very country, the value additional potential which should be strong and effective to enhance policy makers to report timely to issues bordering on development, and the confidence which would be given to the users that the data had enough value for consumption.

“I am glad to inform this gathering that, today, the Statistic- SL is highly placed in one of the strategic locations in the heart of the New Direction Government of Sierra Leone, and we would continue to make sure that the institution live up to international standard in in terms of data collection, processing and distribution,” he said.