By David Johnson
During the ongoing 2020 Budget Hearing at the Miatta Conference Centre the Ministry of Finance, through its officials disclosed and commended Stats SL for being the only MDA to have fully disclosed funds received from its development partners.
Cyrus Luseni from the Ministry of Finance who was head of the session in which Stats SL succinctly presented its Policies and Programmes for 2020 financial year, said that the Ministry can only commend the leadership of Stats SL headed by the Statistician General Prof. Osman Sankoh (Mallam O) and its Council under the leadership of Mr. Moses Williams for the conspicuous show of transparency.
Making the presentation on behalf of Stats SL, the new Deputy Statistician General, Andrew Johnny, intimated all present that Stats SL’s leadership these days is very particular about transparency and accountability, hence the reason why a Directorate of Internal Audit and Compliance was created during the recent restructuring that took place, in addition to 3 other new Directorates namely Communications and Public Relations, Operations and National Statistical System with professional and qualified staff to deliver Credible Data for National Development.
In cataloguing the successes that Stats SL was able to record in 2018, Andrew Johnny disclosed that a poverty profile of Sierra Leone through the Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey (SLIHS) was conducted in 2018 and is to be launched this October and that Extensive use of ICT-based data collection, processing and dissemination to ensure reliability and timely delivery of statistical products is now in place. He furthered that there is now an improved corporate and infrastructural image of Stats SL both at the Headquarters and in the districts and disclosed that the institution has secured a World Bank grant for the refurbishment of its headquarters to an ultra-modern facility to meet modern statistical needs
He continued that amidst the successes, there are still challenges amongst which are late and inadequate disbursement of funds to carry out routine statistical activities and administrative operations, poor infrastructure via office buildings at HQ and district offices and MDAs, NGOs and others not involving Stats SL in national surveys which most times leads to data credibility conflicts and figures.He pleaded that a strong legislation be put in place so that all official data produced within Sierra Leone can only be used after accreditation from Stats SL.
Andrew Johnny divulged that Stats SL has 5 key deliverables for 2020 which include, the Conduct of credible Mid-Term Census, Strengthening of National Statistical System including the Development and launching of NSDS III, the rebasing of the Consumer Price Index, the Revision of the Census and Statistics Act of 2002 and the conduct of at least two national surveys namely the labour force and agricultural surveys. In conclusion, he said, that Stats SL will need at least 87 Billion from the Ministry of Finance to be able to embark on all its activities for the year 2020
In his response, the Principal Deputy Financial Secretary at the Ministry of Finance, Matthew Dingie, said that his Ministry is very pleased with Stat SL’s presentation and happy with its work whilst commending the vibrant team that has been put together recently. He said that the Ministry hopes to get credible indicators from Stats SL in order to support medium term micro economic projects. The session closed with a question and answer session from State and Non-State actors most of whom showered praises on Stats SL’s Management for its accountability and tangible strides taken so far.