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Build capacity in data management - Dan Botwe urges MMDAs

BY: Timothy Ngnenbe
Dan Botwe — Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development
Dan Botwe — Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development

The Minister of Local Government, Decentralisation and Rural Development, Dan Botwe, has directed all metropolitan, municipal and district assemblies (MMDAs) to make budgetary allocation for capacity-building in data management to ensure that policies and programmes they implement are informed by data.

He said implementing policies based on relevant data was critical as it would promote the judicious use of resources and facilitate sustainable development.

Again, he observed that the call for policies to be informed by data was important not only for MMDAs but all other ministries, departments and agencies (MDAs) because development was primarily for the benefit of the population.

PHC dialogue

Mr Botwe made the call at the national census policy dialogue organised by the Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS) of the University of Ghana today (June 30).

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

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

The Regional Institute for Population Studies has projected that Ghana’s population will hit 38.2 million by 2030.

Data utilisation

Mr Botwe observed that given that MMDAs were the basic units of planning and development in the country, it was important to prioritise investment in data at that level “to avoid falling into the trap of guess work.”

He said the extent to which projects or programmes impacted citizens would be based on how they were ceded in relevant data.

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

NDPC activities

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

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

For his part, the Government Statistician, Professor Samuel K. Anim, said in the aftermath of the PHC, effective collaboration between development and management institutions on the utilisation of the data was critical to ensure sustainable development.

He called for conscious efforts to be made to audit the country’s population policies to ascertain if they were informed by census data.

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

The acting Director of RIPS, Prof. Ayaga A. Bawah, said it was important to prioritise census data since it helped in policy planning, monitoring and evaluation.

“If you are planning and there is no population, then it is a vague plan,” he said.