Build data management capacity – Dan Botwe urges MMDAs

Minister of Local Government, Decentralization and Rural Development, Dan Botwe, has directed all Metropolitan, Municipal and District Assemblies (MMDAs) to allocate budget allocations for capacity building in data management to ensure that the policies and programs they implement are informed by data.

He said the implementation of policies based on relevant data was essential as it would promote the wise use of resources and facilitate sustainable development.

Again, he observed that the call for data-informed policies was important not only for MMDAs but for all other Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) because development was first and foremost for the benefit of the people.

SSP Dialog

Mr Botwe made the call during the National Census Policy Dialogue organized by the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) at the University of Ghana today (June 30).

The dialogue session was organized by RIPS in collaboration with the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC), the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the National Population Council (NPC) and the Ministry of Local Government, decentralization and rural development.

The dialogue, which focused on the theme: “Census data for effective policy-making and sustainable development”, was organized as part of the celebration of the 50th anniversary of RIPS.

The Regional Institute for Population Studies has projected Ghana’s population to reach 38.2 million by 2030.

Data usage

Mr. Botwe observed that since the MMDAs were the basic units of planning and development in the country, it was important to prioritize investment in data at this level “to avoid falling into the trap of guesses”.

He said the extent to which projects or programs would impact citizens would be based on how they were yielded in the relevant data.

He therefore urged MMDAs to make good use of the 2021 Population and Housing Census (PHC) data made available by the GSS.

NDPC Activities

NDPC Director General Kodjo Mensah-Abrampa said the dialogue on how to use PHC data was a step in the right direction.

He said the NDPC relied heavily on PHC data to obtain development trends in various sectors and advise the president on appropriate development policies.

For his part, the government statistician, Professor Samuel K. Anim, said that in the aftermath of the PHC, effective collaboration between development and management institutions on the use of data was essential to ensure sustainable development.

He called for conscious efforts to be made to audit the country’s population policies to see if they were based on census data.

“Data should not be stored in silos, so we are working with other institutions to ensure data interoperability,” he said.

RIPS Acting Director Prof. Ayaga A. Bawah said it was important to prioritize census data as it helps in policy planning, monitoring and evaluation.

“If you’re planning and there’s no population, then it’s a vague plan,” he said.

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