Statistics Botswana (SB) has launched its first ever strategic plan since its transformation into a parastatal. The strategic Plan 2015-2020 was launched on Tuesday during World Statistics Day (WSD) which was celebrated under the theme, “Better Data, Better Lives”. The organisation also launched other documents such as Botswana Strategy for the Development of Statistics (BSDS) which covers the same period as the strategic plan.
Statistician General, Annah Majelantle said SB was set as parastatal organisation in 2009 and developed an interim strategic plan which would give the organisation a strategic direction for the period covering 2012/13 to 2014/15. Majelantle said the importance of developing of such framework is the sector-based and bottom-up approach which guarantees ownership and also helps entrench mainstreaming of statistics in the planning process. Majelantle said the strategy will ensure a systematic and harmonised approach in the development of statistics in the wider national statistics system.
Through the strategic plan, SB has divided its plan into four categories, the first being customer focus by improving customer satisfaction and increasing usage of statistics followed by the internal process which seeks to improve quality and information, education and communication. The third objective of the strategy - Learning and Growth - focuses on development of management and staff skills and increasing staff morale, while the fourth is financial perspective which seeks to help the organisation manage costs and increasing revenue.
With regards to the BSDS, Statistics Botswana, along with other stakeholders in the National Statistics System (NSS) to come up with the strategy whose aim is to strengthen the NSS to provide more reliable statistics. The strategy’s first goal is to address greater use of statistics for policy, planning and decision making and secondly to enhance the NSS and data quality while the third goal is to increase resources for statistics.
Speaking during the commemoration of the WSD, the Minister of Finance and Development Planning Kenneth Matambo said as the country makes progress towards becoming a knowledge economy, the role of statistics will become more important. He said with this regard, the hallmark of a country’s reputation will be underpinned by the credibility and transparency of its statistical system and the timeliness and integrity of the statistical data emerging from that system. Matambo urged Statistics Botswana to up their game in terms of addressing backlogs and data gaps and called on them to move with speed to effectively deliver statistics mandate.
While he acknowledged the resource challenges that the organisation is grappling with, Matambo said a turnaround strategy needs to be devised now rather than later to meet stakeholders’ expectation. Statistics Botswana has in the past been accused of lacking when it comes to providing timely and accurate information, something the board chairman said he has always pointed out during the board meetings. Matambo said he hopes the national statistics strategy - BSDS - will improve the harmonisation of methodologies, approaches, databases, concepts and systems of the NSS, which comprises SB, other producers of statistics as well as users of official statistics.