NOVEMBER 19, 2014 By Alusine Sesay
In his address during celebrations to mark Africa Statistics Day, Sierra Leone’s Statistician General Mohamed King-Koroma has urged the need for citizens to make judicious use of statistical information to hold public officials accountable in the use of public funds.
“Let me remind Sierra Leoneans about the need to embrace statistics by utilizing our product and services. A nation that does not think statistically will be difficult to develop. If you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it,” he said.
18th November, he said, is celebrated across the African Continent as a day set aside by the United Nations Commission for Africa (UNECA) to raise public awareness on the role of statistics in the socio-economic development of countries.
“The day also provides an opportunity for statistical institutions across Africa to advocate for major statistical operations including censuses and surveys,” he said
This year’s celebration is themed ‘Open Data for Accountability and Inclusiveness, he said, adding that it is appropriate, especially when “We are now seeing a growing desire for citizens’ involvement in state governance. The theme has also come at a time when huge resources are being utilized to combat a devastating disease in our country.”
King-Koroma maintained that open data is one that can be freely used, re-used and re-distributed by anyone.
“To achieve this, data must be available and accessible, re-usable ad re-distributable and above all, universal. There should be no discrimination against the categories of uses of data or against persons or groups in the use of data,” he noted. “Open data can improve inclusiveness by giving citizens the information they need to participate in public decision making.”
Open data, he continued, can help citizens to better understand their government’s decision process and increase their sense of responsibility, since with better information they are in a better position to actively take part in public debates.
The Statistician General reiterated that open data can empower citizens to make informed decisions as well as provide civil society more resources to carry out public analysis that in turn would help decision makers to make better, fact based policy decision.
Statistics Sierra Leone, he said, has over the years stood tall to ensure accountability and inclusiveness in its data collection, processing, analysis and dissemination.
He noted that due to successes made in the recent years, the institution continues to receive support from Government, UNFPA, UNICEF, World Bank, African Development Bank, UN Statistics Division, UNECA, ECOWAS and the African Union.
Other speakers included the Director of Economics Statistics Division, Director of Demographic and Social Statistics Division, Director Geographical Census and Information Services, Director of Data Processing Unit, Census Manager, Finance Manager and head of Procurement.