Benefits of the SRF/IDA financing for the Ghana statistics development project
The Committee was informed that the Project would strengthen the National Statistical System in the timely and robust production, analysis and dissemination of quality data relevant for policy-making and other uses. Specifically, it would enhance the building of the capacity of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) at the national and regional levels and strengthen the skills of the professional and non- professional staff of the statistical units through the acquisition of goods and the provision of training.
The Project would also assist in developing the statistical infrastructure for households, businesses and economic surveys and ensure improvements in the physical infrastructure at the MDAs statistical units and the GSS.
Again, data collection techniques would be modernised through the application of new technologies in data collection. It would facilitate the development of an information technology data centre for official statistics and improve the collection, compilation, analysis and dissemination of economic and socio- demographic statistics.
The Committee was further informed that, communication of official statistics would be enhanced by the creation of a data dissemination and resource hub within GSS. It was explained that, GSS among others, would be conducting outreach activities to key stakeholders, develop a comprehensive release calendar for national statistics and develop an official national statistics web portal and publications and dissemination policy.
Thus, the project is expected to bring about substantial improvements in the
efficiency of statistical operations and agencies; ensure broader coverage of statistical information and higher quality data; enhance the production of improved statistics for evidence-based decision making and address issues of data gaps and inaccuracies.
It would also support the development of a demand driven, sustainable and professional national statistical system, that is able to produce and increase the quality and accessibility of official statistics which would contribute to the achievement of the MDGs and GSGDA objectives.
The Committee was informed that, under the institutional reform and organisational change component of the facility, the GSS would among others, be assisted to carry out a plan for the retrenchment or staff buy-out of up to about 89 instead of the 300 originally indicated in the Agreement. Touching on the reasons for the reduction in the numbers, it was indicated that, the issue of the staff buy-out had been one of the challenges that stalled the approval process when the Agreement was pre- sented for parliamentary approval in 2012.
It was indicated the staff situation at the time accounted for the high number of the staff buy-out. It was however, added that, the situation has since changed which has made it possible to reduce the numbers to an acceptable level and still operate within the threshold approved by the Board of the Bank. It was emphasised that the current number of 89 would not be in violation of the Agreement since the country would still be operating within the “up to 300” threshold which is not a condition precedent.
Further, going back to the Board of the Bank to change the figure form “up to 300” to “up to 89” would mean renegotiation of the loan terms and conditions possibly at a higher rate (Commercial rate).
The Committee was also informed that, a number of GSS staff have by themselves acquired further degrees while GSS has also supported some staff to acquire higher degrees in fields relevant to the mandate of the Service. Some staff have also passed on while others have retired or resigned from the Service. Additionally, GSS is in discussions with the Ministry of Local Government and Rural Develop- ment and the Local Government Service to integrate some 49 staff at the Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies into the Local Government Service.
Commenting on the Committee's concern on the use of the possible savings that might be made as a result of the reduction in the number of the staff buy- out, the Hon Deputy Minister stated that, the reduction may not necessarily result in savings. However, the use of any savings under the programme would have to be approved by the Board of the Bank before they can be used.
Cost estimate for data production and dissemination
The Committee observed that, the cost estimates for the production and dissemination has wrongly been quoted as US$12.00 million instead of the correct figure of US$14.38 million in the Parliamentary Memorandum. The Com- mittee accordingly, recommends that the cost estimates for the production and dissemination should read US$14.38 million and not US$12.00 million as stated in the Parliamentary Memorandum.
The Committee has carefully examined the request and is of the view that, the credit facility would help strengthen the National Statistical System in the production and dissemination of timely and robust statistics relevant for evidence- based policy-making and other uses.
The Committee therefore, respectfully recommends to the House to adopt its report and approve Financing Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Ghana and the International Develop- ment Association (IDA) for an amount of US$30,000,000.00 and a US$10,000,000.00 grant from the Statistics for Results Facility Catalytic Fund to finance the Ghana Statistics Development Project in accordance with article 181 of the 1992 Constitution, section 7 of the Loans Act, 1970, Act 335 and Order 171 of the Standing Orders of the House.
Ranking Member (Dr Anthony A. Osei): Mr Speaker, I beg to second the Motion that the Chairman of the Committee just read.
Mr Speaker, our Ghana Statistical Service (GES) is a very important institution that we all cherish. In the last couple of years, they have had some challenges in terms of human resources. Sometimes, some of us have had the presence of mind to question some of the statistics that they churn out. So any attempt to try to improve their capacity, such that, they would produce information that all of us can use without any debate is important.
Mr Speaker, this facility was brought to us over a year ago, and we had to send it back because they had some challenges in terms of some information relating to so-called retrenchment of staff. I do not know what has happened but unfortunately,