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Head of the Economics department at the University of Ghana, Professor Peter Quartey, has said the Ghana Statistical Service needs to lift up its game and update data on key economic factors, particularly employment.

“Employment data often times are not up to date. It is a characteristic of many developing countries but as we strive to better outcomes, we are asking that employment data becomes more up to date,” Prof. Quartey told the B&FT at this year’s commemoration of the African Statistics Day held in Accra.

The lack of up-to-date unemployment data has the possibility of resulting in formulation of policies that become a mismatch to the situation on the ground, he said.

“The lack of timely regular flow of data is limiting our growth. If we have timely regular flow of data, there is more we can do.

Take unemployment, for instance. If we had data about which region and district have the highest rate of unemployment and their educational level, then we can address the issue. But if you don’t know and you provide policy, then it is going to be a misfit, it can’t work.”

He further stated that the GSS must extend focus on district level data rather than focusing only on the regional level, for accelerated development.

“Statistical Service provides very useful data to us for economic analysis and planning. What we are asking for is a much more disaggregated data. Data is at the regional level but we want to see it is also at the district level.

So, if it is data on poverty, we want to see an organised district level poverty data which can be used for policy making. We also want them to follow up on the same data they collect so that they will know the progress made in the districts,” he added.

The Acting Government Statistician, Baah Wadieh, who also spoke at the event, agreed that economic data has important impact on national development.

“High quality economic statistics are crucial to regional integration and economic transformation and in achieving the aims set by the African Union in Agenda 2063—the Africa we need.

Economic statistics, and in particular national accounts data, provide a comprehensive assessment of performance of the country’s economy over time. A strong national statistical system with good infrastructure collection…is vital to the national economy and development.

It helps to inform evidence-based decision and policymaking, which stimulates economic growth, foster regional integration and trade and promote socioeconomic development,” Mr. Wadieh said.

He further assured that efforts are being made to build the capacity of the GSS in order to provide quality statistics for the country.

(Source: thebftonline )

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