Statistics Botswana (SB) and Botswana Non-Bank Financial Institutions Regulatory Authority (NBFIRA) have formalised their partnership by signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Wednesday. The two state entities that fall under the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning agreed to work together on issues of production of statistics in an effort to improve decision making processes and planning. The signing is expected to further provide a clear framework for the two to cooperate and communicate constructively in order to improve the breadth and equality of data collected by the two agencies. SB Acting Statistician General, Dr Burton Mguni, said the partnership is geared towards the need to work closely with other entities in the production of statistics to enhance decision making. He said statistics have come to be recognised nationally and internationally as part of enabling infrastructure for development. “They act as a stimulant for public action, a catalyst for change and an input into making development programme work,” he said. Mguni said it is critical to be cautious of the quality of statistics produced as different agencies generate different statistics and as such, there is a need for data exchange protocols across sectors. The partnership, according to Mguni, will provide clear framework for the two parties to cooperate and communicate constructively in order to improve the quality of data collected by the two.
“The partners will also strive for improved data standards to support more macroeconomic and non-bank financial surveillance,” he said.
NBFIRA CEO, Oaitse Ramasedi, described the signing as monumental as it marked the beginning of formal relations between the two entities, a process which he said began in 2013. Ramasedi explained that the spreading of risk via new and sophisticated financial techniques and instruments is, in principle, positive for the financial system as it reduces the likelihood that such risk would be concentrated in, or more on, the financial institutions sector of the economy. “Furthermore, the dispersion of risk makes it more difficult when you don’t have statistics to qualify and validate it. Conversely SB’s effort to collect data becomes impossible without data from sectors regulated by NBFIRA, hence the reason for this agreement with SB,” he said. Ramasedi said the partnership must be viewed in a multilateral consensus on a broad range of commitments through having bilateral meetings through the working committee to promote dialogue for development around data kept by both organisations. As a participant in the SADC financial inclusion agenda which touches on financial participation, Ramasedi said this could only be achieved through availability of statistics from SB to assist NBFIRA in determining whether as a country progress is being made on this pillar as indicated in the Financial Investment Protocol.