Malawi for timely, quality statistics – deputy finance minister

Deputy Minister of Finance, Dr. Cornelius Mwalwanda said Government needs coordinated, timely and quality official statistics in evidence based policymaking, monitoring and evaluation of development programmes.

The Deputy Minister made the remarks Thursday at the official launch of the 2013-2017 National Statistical System (NSS) Strategic Plan in Lilongwe. The launch was organized by the National Statistical Office which is under the Ministry of Economic Planning and Development.

Mwalwanda said the plan is designed to address the data requirements for local level development programmes such as the Malawi Growth and Development Strategy (MGDS) and Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

He emphasized, “The launch of the NSS Strategic Plan in the country is an important step towards production and dissemination of official statistics that are harmonized, relevant and timely.

Mwalwanda: For evidence based decision making

“I would, therefore, like to request our development partners to support the implementation of the plan.”

Mwalwanda urged the Donor community to further its technical and financial assistance towards strengthening and coordinating the National Statistical System in the country.

Commissioner of Statistics, Charles Machinjiri said the main objective of the plan is to bring about better coordination and rationalization of activities and enhancement of capacity by officials at NSS and other line ministries hence production of high quality statistics.

Machinjiri observed the first plan started humbly since it covered statistical units in only six line ministries and National Statistical Office (NSO) but now there are 11 line ministries.

He added: “I am appealing for more resources both financial and technical from government and co-operating partners for the plan to see the light of the day.

“The NSO and its partners are looking forward to more support in order to produce quality statistics to better inform the development process for better results.”

He said the NSO had been operating under a five-year strategic plan since 1996 and the plans were sufficient adding the advent of poverty reduction strategies led to the formulation of National Monitoring and Evaluation Framework.

Norwegian Deputy Ambassador to Malawi, Jan Hakon Olsson said the donor community is looking forward to seeing a constructive collaboration between NSO and the line ministries in developing clear and manageable sector statistical plans.

Olsson said the Norwergian Embassy had been providing broad support for development of statistics in the country for over 10 years now.

“The support has taken the form of direct financial support to specific statistical undertakings such as welfare monitoring surveys and the MDG End line survey, but also through a twinning arrangement between the NSO and Statistics Norway.

The launch of the plan has been done barely months after the passing of the National Statistics Act by Parliament. The previous Statistics Act was last amended in 1967 hence old and outdated.

Issues to do with statistics in the country have been getting assistance from donors such as the Norwegian Government, the UK Department for International Development (DfID), GIZ, World Bank, UNFPA, UNICEF, Irish Aid among others.

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