Statistics agency scales up to boost devt agenda

The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) plans to roll out the second national strategy for the development of the data sector.
Precieuse Umuhoza (R), a student from Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre Kigali, receives an award from NISR’s Murangwa yesterday.  The New Times/ J. Mbanda.
Precieuse Umuhoza (R), a student from Integrated Polytechnic Regional Centre Kigali, receives an award from NISR’s Murangwa yesterday. The New Times/ J. Mbanda.

The National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda (NISR) plans to roll out the second national strategy for the development of the data sector.

Yusuf Murangwa, the NISR director-general, said the new project will back the agency with a strong statistical framework that will support the Second Economic Development and Poverty Reduction Strategy (EDPRS2) programme.

Goal of strategy


The strategy awaits Cabinet approval early next year and is expected to cost $92.7 million (about Rwf62  billion), Murangwa  said.

The strategy seeks to get the national statistical systems ready to serve the middle-income economy by providing highly participatory consultative framework in line with the national development priorities.

Part of the strategy is to help address capacity constraint challenges, strengthen economic sectors and provide opportunities in data management, quality and accessibility.

“We have been covering more of social welfare statistics; the time has come for us to focus on business statistics, especially as the country embarks on its journey toward becoming a middle-income economy,” Murangwa said.

“We need to start looking at the dynamics of our business, investments, both foreign and local and their contribution to their national economy, the labour markets; what exactly needs to be done.”

He was speaking during the belated African Statistics Day 2013 celebrations in Kigali yesterday.

Govt desires

The government has previously challenged certain statistics provided by international bodies, arguing that the best way to get a good picture of the local situation is to publish own research.

The Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Kampeta Sayinzoga, told journalists this week that local statistics will always take precedence.

Murangwa said there is need to lay a foundation that will allow Rwanda to function as a middle-income economy by 2020.

“The EDPRS2 must be mapped directly on the statistics we have produced.  We know that for the country to achieve its economic objectives, those in the statistics sector must first of all provide quality statistics,” he said.

The actuarial expert warned both the public and private sectors against withholding information the agency needs to fulfill its mandate.

“Our law on statistics gathering is clear; availing data to NISR  should not be seen as an option, but rather an obligation,” Murangwa said.

Dr Thomas Kigabo, the chief economist at the central bank, called for more systems and information technologies to be put in place in a bid to ease the distribution and sharing of data and other available materials that are very essential to the economic development of the country.

“We need to be sure that the information and the statistics we gather is actually being shared by all stakeholders,” he said.

Addressing challenges


Kigabo also called for the strategy to strongly address the challenges facing the statistics agency, especially in capacity building.

Dr Felicien Usengumukiza, the deputy chief executive in charge of research and monitoring at Rwanda Governance Board, said the strategy should also look into ways of harmonising some of the indicators used while conducting surveys, especially at the district level during performance contracts evaluation.

“There is need to harmonise some of these indictors, so as to come up with more accurate data by different stakeholders,” Usengumukiza said,

“A lot of resources is being wasted in duplication of works. It’s important to first enquire if a similar study has been conducted before one conducts a study.”

Rwanda’s success


Rwanda was in August 2013 ranked third in Africa after Egypt and Mauritius in World Bank’s statistical capacity indicator after scoring 77 points out of 100.

The success is attributed to achievements registered by the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda since 2009 with the five-year national strategy for developing statistics.

These include improved surveys delivery and more professional management as evidences by integrated Household Living Conditions Survey, National Census and quarterly and annual Gross Domestic Product.

The day was marked under the theme, “Promoting use of quality data to support African progress,” to draw attention to the importance of statistics in decision making and programme layout.

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