Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, has endorsed the move to establish a National Statistical System (NSS), noting that it will, undoubtedly, support the government’s thrust towards data-driven and evidence-based policy making.
Mr. Hylton said he hopes this model will also be replicated throughout the region with the eventual establishment of a regional statistical system, which would serve the needs of CARICOM member states.
He was speaking to members of the manufacturing and distribution sectors on May 2 at a Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN)-organised workshop held at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston.
The workshop, under the theme ‘Promoting Development through better Statistics: A Public-Private Partnership,’ was held to shore-up private sector support for the development and implementation of the NSS, to promote the use of statistics in business/enterprise development, and the urgent need for the production and management of a sound statistical system in Jamaica.
The NSS project, or the ‘Support for the Development of a National Statistics System’ programme, is being implemented by STATIN with financing assistance from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The project is being funded at a cost of US$692,000 over a three-year period.
Minister Hylton told stakeholders that better statistics are required to inform policies, allocate scarce resources, monitor progress, to evaluate business effectiveness and to make evidence-based decisions.
He noted that government policies cannot be based on anecdotes, fragments of data, or speculation derived from spurious data analysis, but must be founded on hard facts and evidence.
“Policies that impact the process of economic development must all obey the principle of being grounded in facts,” he stated. “We must adopt a scientific and evidence-based approach towards the decision-making process."
He also remarked that the aspired outcomes of the government’s Vision 2030, National Development Plan, critically demand the use of evidence-based decision making
“The economic development process is shaped by policy decisions that govern the management of resources. Constant pressure from a variety of competing interests influences policy formation and decision making,” he said.
The NSS programme will see the development of a coherent system geared towards providing quality and timely statistics and data that effectively meet the needs of stakeholders.
The data will also inform the development of capacity and institutional structures and systems to support the system, increase business profitability and reduce poverty.
By Athaliah Reynolds-Baker, JIS Reporter