Labour Force Survey to improve Govt’s decision making in 2017

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The Government of Guyana will launch a Labour Force Survey (LFS) in the second quarter of 2017 with support from development partners, according to Minister of Finance, Winston Jordan.

The Minister Jordan said that preparations are already underway, and personnel are being trained to capture data in the field, some of which will be done electronically for the first time.

The Finance Minister pointed out that over 80 persons will be trained by the end of 2017 in the use of handheld devices so that all information previously collected on paper would now be done electronically. The datasets to be collected for the Survey include size, location, gender and educational profiles, occupational status and industry, age structure, and regularity of work.

“In some instances, the LFS, compared to the Census, will collect data in a more detailed way and with the highest level of regularity, as this will be an on-going survey conducted over four continuous quarters,” Minister Jordan explained.

The Minister noted that sector ministries must generate and disseminate timely data, especially in critical sectors such as health and education. He said that for too long, the Government has labored in the dark, by not knowing the country’s rate of unemployment, or which demographic group requires greatest attention.

The Finance Minister said that the Government has a strong focus and commitment on evidence-based decision making and results-based management, and for quality data to be generated with the required frequency, scale and timeliness.

Minster Jordan pointed out that , “Diagnosing the needs of sectors,  regions,  and  the  problems  faced  by  our  people  requires  more  than mere intuition and good intentions. We must identify the data needs, collect the data, and use the data to drive a performance budgeting approach to development. Only then will we know whether our programmes are failing or succeeding. Only then can we hold ourselves accountable.”

The National Monitoring and Evaluation Strategy (NMES) includes capacity building that has seen over 900 public servants trained as at November, 2016 in comparison to 190 for the corresponding period in 2016.

Minister Jordan noted that the execution of the strategy has further strengthened the urgent need for individuals and sector programme leaders, heads of budget agencies, and ministers to implement a theory of change approach, using robust data to inform policy interventions that are required to resolve the challenges that beset delivery of services to people.

Additionally, the Government is to establish an expanded, all-urban, Consumer Price Index (CPI), which will encompass an expanded number of locations and allow for a comprehensive price average to be calculated  that  will  be  more  representative  of  changes  in  the  cost of  living.

The Finance Minister said that with technical training and support from a company named Statistics Canada, the Bureau is expected to introduce the new CPI by the end of 2017. Furthermore, a Poverty Measurement and Analysis Unit will be established in the New Year. The Bureau will also build capacity in the area of national accounts with a focus on the measurement of the petroleum sector. (GINA)

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