CBS frames nat’l dev statistics strategy draft

- Post Report, Kathmandu

Oct 19, 2016-

The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) has framed the draft of the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) to standardise collection, processing and dissemination of statistics, improve data management, and promote evidence-based decision making in the country.

Once approved, the strategy will work as a national statistics plan, enabling the government to churn out reliable data sets to frame policies, monitor progress of programmes launched in the past and facilitate implementation of sectoral and periodic plans.

“The strategy has already been forwarded to the National Planning Commission,” CBS Director General Suman Raj Aryal told the Post. Once the NPC gives its nod, it will be forwarded to the Cabinet to get the final approval, Aryal said. The commission is the apex body that frames the country’s development plans and policies and also the parent body of the CBS.

This, however, is not the first time the government has geared up to introduce such a strategy. In 2003, the government initiated the process of framing the Consolidated National Statistics Plan, which was similar to the draft of the NSDS just prepared by the CBS. But it was never implemented.

“We hope our attempt to create a standard and well-functioning statistical system won’t go in vain this time, as it is high time that the policy formulation and decision-making processes be backed by statistics,” Aryal said.

The CBS has prepared the draft of the NSDS based on a guideline framed by the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21), founded in 1999 by the United Nations, the European Commission, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank.

The document aims to curb production of conflicting statistics by various agencies and avoid duplication in data generation. It also intends to enhance coordination among different agencies that produce statistics; build capacity of human resources engaged in data production; promote use of information technology in data collection; assess statistical needs of various sectors; and update data on a periodic basis to support policy formulation and decision-making processes.

Among others, the NSDS also aims to strengthen the CBS and establish it as the national coordinating agency for collection and analysis of statistics.

The CBS was established in 1958 based on the Statistics Act enforced in the same year as the sole body to collect, consolidate, analyse and publish statistics. At that time, no other agency was allowed to publish data without CBS’s approval.

But due to lack of resources, the CBS was not able to perform all the tasks mentioned in the Act. This paved the way for other agencies to step into CBS’s territory, and collect and publish statistics on their own, resulting in generation of conflicting statistics and duplication in data collection.

“In this era, it would not be appropriate to re-establish the CBS as the sole body to collect, consolidate, analyse and publish statistics,” said Aryal.

“But other bodies that wish to collect and publish data must coordinate with us, as it would help us establish priorities and allocate limited resources efficiently.”

Published: 19-10-2016 08:53

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