Wednesday, July 1, 2009

GSS calls for provision of timely, reliable data

Dr Grace Bediako, Government Statistician, on Tuesday advised public institutions to provide timely and reliable data, to enable easy generation of information upon request. "Unless we get our documentation right, we cannot meet the data needs of government or development partners that need to be shown value for their programme support," she said.Dr Bediako made the call on Tuesday at the first dissemination workshop on Public Expenditure Tracking Surveys (PETS) in the education and health sectors, held in Accra to review the findings of a research conducted between 2005 and 2006. She said the country had a long way to go with regard to administrative sources of data and urged public institutions, which generated the data to make them available to enable the Ghana Statistical Service to have a full complement of data needed to support policies.The PETS was launched in 2007, to find out whether there was insufficient flow of information in the health and education sectors and to increase understanding of the link between public spending and service delivery at the facility level.It is also to improve the accountability and effectiveness in the use of public funds and contribute to refining policies and procedures to achieve more effective use of public resources and better social outcomes. She said the development of administrative data, required an effective and sustained partnership between GSS and district offices so that information generated from documentation could be collated to ensure comparability, standardization and harmonization. Issues researched under the education sector were the delays, discrepancies or leakages and spending patterns of cash resources with regard to the capitation grant from 2005 to 2006 and textbook distribution.There was understanding that the usage of capitation grant encountered leakages and discrepancies, which mostly occurred at the District Education Offices (DEO) level to schools as a result of bad record keeping and non-complying behaviour of some headmasters and DEOs. On the distribution of textbooks to students, bad recordkeeping also came up at the same level in addition to untimely delivery of books. The survey recommended a timely delivery of books and a consistent format of recording which the DEOs should keep electronically.The health sector was no different from the education sector as records were difficult to match at every level, due to incomplete records, complexity and differences in recording formats among other things.Delays were recorded in the transfer of funds from the Ministry of Health to tertiary hospitals as all resources were transferred during the fourth quarter with no discrepancies in the amount but at the district level downwards, the delays were minimal. The overall recommendations from the survey was the development of a record and reporting system, that can easily aggregate the public spending from service providers up to the central administrative unit and also develop regulations and incentives for accurate record keeping.

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