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Government agencies need legislative provision

ALL Government agencies need to have specific legislation or legislative provisions for collecting of information.

This is one of the difficulties the National Statistic Office experienced in their statistical work, as reported in the newly launched NSDS 2015-16 to 2035.

According to the report, the Statistic Act 1970 and Census Act 1959 provided a mandate for the NSO to be responsible for statistical activity.

But there is difficulty since the production or provision of data is not generally reflected in government agencies legislations.

Thus, government ministries administrative and service functions don’t support survey collection or statistical production functions.

Only a small number of agencies including the Office of Auditor General, Solomon Islands Electoral Commission and MHA have specific legislation or legislative provisions for collecting information for policy, monitoring and reporting purposes.

However, in some cases these provisions need to be strengthened to support their respective activities.

An example, the Births and Deaths registration Act invokes a fine of $100 for non-compliance of registration of a birth or death, something which is seldom enforced.

Therefore, the Act needs to be updated to enforce penalties for non-compliances.

And this is to define roles and responsibilities to clarify processes in the registration process and the civil registrations and statistics system.

Moreover, the lack of comprehensive legislation to support the NSS has resulted in a system that is fragmented and characterised by intra-agency rather than sector-wide consultation or dissemination.

Another weakness or difficulty NSO faced in disseminating of its work is the availability and reliability of data.

Over the past few years the NSO has built up a considerable good capacity to gather data.

However, the Millennium Development Goals data gathering formats have not yet been developed.

That leads to considerable difficulties in the identification of set indicators for determining progress over the specific indicators for each of the MDG.

There are organisational changes and transformation to the NSO due to continuing statistical development, increase demand in statistical information for evidence based decision making, policy formulations, monitoring and evaluation of policies.

In the meantime, the report also stressed that NSO also faced insufficient resource to carry-out the coordination role they’ve being mandated under the Statistic Act.

Statistical needs are not systematically coordinated and articulated due to lack of overall plan to improve statistic production and use.

With all these issues, it still leaves the discrepancies of data to exist.