The Sunday News
Clementine Phulu and Valencia Ndhlovu
THE Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) on Friday joined other African countries in commemorating the 2022 African Statistics Day where awareness was raised on the importance of statistics in all aspects of social and economic life.
The annual event is celebrated every year on 18 November by the African statistics community to intensify the development of statistics in Africa. The theme for this year’s commemoration was “Strengthening data systems by modernizing the production and use of agricultural statistics; informing policies with a view to improving resilience in agriculture, nutrition, and food security in Africa.”
In a speech read on his behalf by Zimstat board chairperson Dr Naomi Wekwete, the Minister of Finance and Economic Development, Professor Mthuli Ncube, said this year’s theme highlights the importance of raising awareness on the role which statistics play in monitoring the achievement of the National Development Strategy 1 (NDS1) and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“For statistics to meet the required intention of making lives better, overall management of production, analysis and dissemination of statistics must be well coordinated. Therefore, I urge all Government Ministries, departments, agents, the private sector, development partners and the general public to participate fully in the production of statistics by complying and responding to Zimstat questionnaires. Further, I urge the same to use statistics in planning, monitoring and evaluation of different business, social and economic development policies.”
He said the challenge which was there was below expectation of the response rates from companies, hence it was compromising production of industrial statistics. Prof Ncube said this affected production of indices such as volume of manufacturing index, index of mineral production, business confidence index, wholesale trade index, retail trade index and sectorial capacity utilisation. He called upon business membership organisations to conscientise their constituencies on the need to respond to Zimstat questionnaires.
“The main responsibility of the Zimstat is to produce official statistics that are used by Government, business and Civil Society Organisations to formulate policies and preparation of strategic plans to ensure sustainable development.”
Zimstat director-general, Mr Taguma Mahonde said the importance of the event was to raise awareness and the importance of statistics was for them to be used for decision making, policy interventions and planning.
“We use statistics for monitoring policy implementation, we have got our NDS1, SDGs and agenda 2063. So, for all these programmes and their monitoring we need statistics. Today is the day to raise awareness on the importance of statistics and to ensure those who are still at school see statistics as a possible career,” said Mr Mahonde.
He said unlike in the past where data collection was done through survey and census, with the ongoing technology a lot of data was now being generated elsewhere in telecommunication companies and in some of the retailer shops and such data could be used to generate statistics. Mr Mahonde said the timely dissemination of the 2022 Population and Housing Census testifies expediency of using contemporary technology.