Quality statistics key in informing policies – Chisenda

DISPLACED people usually end up in destinations where there are no opportunities for them to make a decent living, says Ministry of National Development Planning permanent secretary Danies Chisenda.

Chisenda, in charge of development cooperation, monitoring and evaluation, said displaced people experience suffering and are mostly helpless.

During the commemoration of the African Statistics Day, Chisenda said since 1990 the Day was celebrated every year to increase public awareness on the important role statistics plays in all aspects of social and economic life in Africa.

He said the day provided the opportunity for each country to evaluate its achievements in measuring the improvement of the wellbeing of its people, as well as monitoring the national, regional and global development goals.

Chisenda said the theme of this year’s African Statistics Day commemoration, “Everyone counts: quality statistics for better management of forced displacement in Africa”, in literal terms portrayed the realisation that every human being can contribute positively to all areas of development and that quality statistics were key in informing policies for managing issues affecting people who were forcibly displaced.

“As most of us are aware, displaced people experience suffering and are mostly helpless. They usually end up in destinations where there are no opportunities for them to make a decent living. These are people that would have contributed positively to national development in their home countries or could contribute to development in host countries,” he said. “With the help of quality statistics, the impact on development of forced migration can be assessed in affected countries. In addition, evidence-based policies that are sensitive to the needs of forcibly displaced people in respective host countries can be formulated and enhance human rights.”

Chisenda said quick advances of developments in the area of statistical reforms that the government had recorded over the past year included transformation of Central Statistical Office.

He said the government in 2014 committed to the need to transform or restructure CSO in line with the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) (2014-2018) in order to strengthen the CSO’s capacity to manage a well-coordinated National Statistical System (NSS).

He said the government had also approved the statistics Act No. 13 of 2018.

Chisenda said to enhance the Central Statistical Office’s ability to produce timely and quality statistics, the government approved the statistics legal framework in December 2018.

He said this development would lead to a well-coordinated national statistical system that ensured comprehensive data availability, consistency, quality and effective use for enhanced evidence-based decision making.

Chisenda said a well-coordinated national statistical system would lead to non-duplication of efforts, harmonised synergies, cost-effectiveness and support the integration of accountability in national development planning.
He said the operationalisation of the new Statistics Act had commenced.

Chisenda said the Central Statistical Office (CSO) had been renamed to the Zambia Statistics Agency (ZAMSTATS), as part of the transformation process.

He said it was currently headed by an interim statistician general.

Chisenda said the new statistics Act stipulated the formulation of a 5-year national strategy for the development of statistics.

He said formulation of the second generation NSDS for the 2020-2024 was underway and focused on development of sector statistics.

“The NSDS will provide a long-term vision, mission, core values and strategic goals and actions for developing national statistics, addressing institutional, organisational and technical constraints and processes, including resources.”

Chisenda said the Zambia Statistics Agency (ZAMSTATS) was expected to play a crucial role in coordinating and harmonizing the NSS, especially with regard to bridging data gaps due to weak administrative data systems,” said Chisenda.

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