Statistics bill to improve credibility of national data – CSO Boss

File - CSO Director Godson Sinyenga

Central Statistics Office – CSO Director General Goodson Sinyenga says he is pleased with the disclosure by cabinet that it has approved the statistical bill and hopes that when the bill is presented before parliament for enactment, and that members of parliament will vote in favour of the bill.

Speaking to the Zambia Business Times – ZBT, Sinyenga says the bill comes with many benefits that will enable members of the public gain the trust that may have been lost in the operations of his institution considering that his agency will become more independent in its operations once the bill in enacted.

The director says the draft statistical bill has been formulated to replace the 1964 Census and Statistics Act, Cap 127 of the laws of Zambia to establish an independent statistics agency for the Government. He adds that the proposed bill will confer to the United States Statistical Fundamental Principles.

Earlier this week, Chief Government Spokesperson Dora Siliya announced that three bills which include The Statistics Bill 2018, The Border Management and Trade Facilitation Bill 2018 and Constituency Development Fund Bill 2018 had been approved for publication and introduction in the current sitting of parliament by cabinet.

The information Minister said the introduction of the Statistics Bill 2018 will provide for the establishment of an integrated National Statistical System as well as ensure best practice of collection of statistics as well as credibility of statistics through an Independent Statistical Agency. This independent agency will be operated by a board of directors appointed by the minister responsible for statistics.

Meanwhile Sinyenga says the newly proposed statistic bill is very important as it will reduce the cost of producing statistical data considering that other agencies or sector’s will now have statistical unit whose purpose is to produce statistics needed for use by their organisations.

“For example the ministry of education as well as the ministry of health have their own statistics officers who conducts research on behalf of the ministries and provide the ministry with information required at a particular time instead of waiting on the central statistics officer to conduct the research on their behalf,’’ he said.

Sinyenga added that the strategic objective of the Bill is to strengthen statistics legislation and provide an enabling environment for the attainment of stated objectives. The proposed Statistics Bill will improve coordination of the national statistical system by integrating various statistical programmes across Government.

The director says the new bill will enable his agency give the country a comprehensive national statistical database and sector databases to ensure harmonized statistical information. This is central to the protection of confidentiality and the assurance of impartiality and objectivity of official statistics.

“This will improve efficiency in statistical production and perceived impartiality, credibility and transparency of official statistics. The agency would be a parallel case for institutions such as the Bank of Zambia, Zambia Revenue Authority and other quasi-government institutions that rely on his institutions to provide them with statistics,” he said.