Statistics gets budget boost
While some government ministries and departments saw decreases in their budget allocations for the 2019/2020 fiscal year, the Department of Statistics received an increase of over $1.5 million.
The department is set to receive $5,245,185, up from last year’s $3.61 million allocation.
This represents the third consecutive budget increase for the department, which has had longstanding concerns over limited resources.
The government previously committed to giving the Department of Statistics the autonomy and resources to improve the “timelines and reliability” of information provided to the public.
In last week’s budget communication, Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest highlighted the importance of statistics in strengthening government capacity to allocate, manage and monitor public resources.
Speaking on a $33 million Inter American Development Bank-financed Public Financial Management and Performance Monitoring Reform project, Turnquest noted that the project has four components: performance monitoring, national statistics, public financial management and procurement.
“The revised draft National Statistics Act is being finalized and the legislative process will be commencing shortly,” he said.
“The increasingly data-driven paradigms of the global community necessitate the review and redesign of the Statistics Act to accommodate growing demands for information across all sectors of our society.
“It will ensure that reliable, timely and relevant data are accessible to decision makers in both the government and the private sector. Indeed, it is likely that policy consideration will be given to the establishment of a National Statistics Agency into which the current Department of Statistics will be amalgamated.
“The agency will be given independence in the law, and the ability to generate revenue through the generation of special reports and datasets of interest to various segments of society.”
Acting Director of the Department of Statistics Leona Wilson has previously cited “constrained physical resources” for the department’s inability to produce more frequent labor force surveys.
The department is responsible for issuing unemployment, labor force and gross domestic product growth numbers, among other statistics.