KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka
CENTRAL Statistical Office (CSO) has called for a solution to address challenges facing the co-ordination and harmonisation of statistical data production and dissemination which is currently very weak in Zambia.
Officially opening the consultative meeting on data collection and the compilation of country and regional profiles in southern Africa last Friday, CSO director John Kalumbi said there is need to strengthen the capacity of national statistical offices to enable them collect reliable and timely data.
Mr Kalumbi, however, said the national statistical office does not have the capacity or the mandate to produce all required official statistics.
â€œOther significant players in the economy produce and use statistics. The efforts of all these players are not sufficiently co-ordinated and harmonised to ensure data consistency, quality and effective use.
â€œIn response to this challenge, the CSO, through the then parent Ministry of Finance, drafted a new Statistics Act, which is awaiting government consideration. This act places emphasis on the co-ordination role of the national statistical office,â€ Mr Kalumbi said.
He said there is need to create a platform for telling Africaâ€™s story from her own data.
â€œCompilation of country and regional profiles requires reliable, credible and timely statistics. So, it is imperative that the capacity of national statistical offices and other national stakeholders to collect reliable and timely data is strengthened.
â€œCountry profiles and regional profiles are key inputs into the development and well-informed policies and therefore need to be anchored on consultation and agreement with stakeholders to ensure that the presented content addresses the specific expectations,â€ he said.
A strategic framework for socio-economic transformation of the African continent over the next 50 years, which is provided through the Agenda 2063, requires quality official statistics to monitor progress in the priority areas of transformation.
And United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) head of regional data centre Sizo Mhlanga says compilation of country profiles by the ECA is not meant to duplicate existing publications by other institutions, but is to provide a unique overview of challenges and opportunities for structural transformation.
â€œIt is important that country profiles are generated from national data, and we donâ€™t go beyond that,â€ he said.
KABANDA CHULU, Lusaka