Thumbs up for User-Producer Workshop

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

Statistics Botswana User-Producer workshop is said to be crucial since it provides the needed platform for an interactive dialogue between users and producers of office statistics.

These words were echoed by the Deputy Statistician General, Ms Malebogo Kerekang when giving welcome remarks at the official opening of statistics User- Producer workshop at Tlotlo conference center on 19th February, 2019.

“As users and producers of official statistics, you are all aware of the importance of statistics in development, planning and monitoring of policies and programs. Against that background, I strongly believe that this is an important workshop to discuss issues around improving policy-making in the country, more specifically the imperative of basing such processes on robust evidence”, said Ms Kerekang.

Ms Kerekang emphasized that everybody should be involved in statistical development including the suppliers of statistical data (the respondents), the users of statistical products, the producers (statistical workers) and the media.

“The special position that the media occupies in statistical development is one important reason why national statistical offices should work closely with them (media) so that they can undertake publicity to popularize statistics and help to build statistical culture in the nation, and encourage usage of statistics by the society through efficient dissemination of statistical products using their channels”, she said.

On the new strategic direction the organization has taken with regard to statistics service delivery, Ms Kerekang pointed out the following success stories:

• The Organization completed a midterm review of its (2015-2020) Strategic Plan and the BSDS during 2017/18.

• A country peer-review led by the African Union was undertaken as way of strengthening the National Statistics System.

• In the just ended financial year, the organization produced a total of 63 monthly, quarterly and annual statistical outputs in line with the advance release calendar.

• The IMF has congratulated Botswana for maintaining a National Summary Data Page (NSDP) which is fully compliant to the set timeliness goals for all data categories.

• Introduction of the BW-Statistics Radio and BW Statistics News Magazine to provide users, producers, and the general public with greater awareness about official statistical products and services.

• In an effort to improve the production of quality statistics, SB has developed the Data Quality Assurance Framework (DQAF). The framework will be used by the wider NSS.

The DSG further said that in a strategic move to improve turnaround time for statistical production, optimize operational costs, and increase benefit to stakeholders through increased accessibility and presence, plans were made to open satellite office in Maun and Ghanzi which brings the number of outstations to three (3).

“Users of statistics and other stakeholders are now able to access statistical services without having to travel to Gaborone or Francistown where the head office and northern regional offices respectively are located”, she said.

For her part the NSS & External Relations Manager, Ms Koontse Mokgwathi outlined the workshop objectives as follows:

• To have a dialogue between the users and producers of official statistics with particular emphasis on the needs of users with regard to the type of data/indicators they need, their timeliness as well as their quality

• Assist producers and SB to understand the user’s needs on official statistics and ways to access data/ data dissemination channels

• Discuss possible ways of improving official statistics in terms of timeliness, accessibility, relevance

• Encourage users to invest in and make use of the national statistical products

• Enhance the capacity of SB to disseminate and effectively communicate official statistics

• Present a panel discussion on the NSS capacity building approach as well as leveraging on the Big Data/Data Revolution and open data initiatives. She also gave an update of all recommendations of the workshop which was held last year.

The Acting Director for Stakeholder Relations, Ms Lillian Mogami also seized the opportunity and presented on the new SB Communication Strategy. Ms Mogami said the Communication Strategy consists of several components such as;

• Internal Communication

• Advocacy

• Stakeholder Engagement

• Information, Education & Communication

• Data & Information Dissemination

Ms Mogami further said the communication strategy is guided by the fundamental principles of office statistics and the organization’s strategic foundations.

She further emphasized that Communication to all stakeholders shall be done in such a manner that it guarantees;

• Transparency

• Understanding

• Accessibility

• Independence

Ms Mogami also went down the memory lane explaining how the new communication strategy was developed, adding that the development went through various stages such as audit, situation analysis, define goal, define objectives, stakeholder analysis, key message development, identify communication, activities and channels, development of action plan, implementation and monitoring & evaluation as well as the implementation of the plans.