President commissions $160M Bureau of Statistics HQ

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President David Granger assisted Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the Bureau, Ms. Natasha Gaskin-Peters in the ceremonial ribbon-cutting to officially commission the facility.

President David Granger said that good governance requires good statistics, which is vital in the process of decision-making and policy formulation.

The Head of State made these remarks at the commissioning of the new Headquarters (HQ) of the Bureau of Statistics on Main Street at the former ‘Customs House’ building, which was refurbished at a cost of some $160M. 

Granger said that his Government is committed to preserving the culture that emphasises the importance of the collection, compilation, dissemination,  storage and retrieval of accurate, reliable, relevant and timely statistics at all levels.

The President pointed out that Government agencies, private sector bodies, civil society and international organisations need accurate, reliable and timely statistics to be able to make informed decisions that will benefit the citizenry.

According to the Head of State, statistics take the guess-work out of decision-making and provides empirical information that can help to validate or invalidate policy measures.

It also helps the Government to determine as well as monitor the social and economic impacts of its policies and social programmes. “Statistics enable citizens to judge the success of government decisions and policies. It is the basis of the informed opinions on which they can hold government accountable. Statistics are therefore essential to government in the delivery of services to citizens,” the President said.

Finance Minister Winston Jordan who was also on hand said that “statistical data represent a key input in macroeconomic policy-making; they are the indicators of the performance of the economy; they are [the] basis for the adoption of current decisions and they underline the projections for future developments.

“Therefore, their quality, impartiality and timeliness are crucial for the successful functioning of the economy of any country…So the modernisation and transformation of the Bureau is essential if we are to meet development objectives,” Minister Jordan outlined.

Meanwhile, Chief Statistician, Lennox Benjamin said that in the early years, ministerial responsibility for the Bureau shifted from the Ministry of Trade, to the Ministry of Finance, to the Office of the Prime Minister, to the Ministry of Economic Development, then to the Ministry of Planning before reverting back to the purview of the Ministry of Finance in 1991.  He noted that in all of these changes, one factor remained constant which is that the Bureau never had a permanent Office.

The Bureau of Statistics headquarters on Main Street

“It was therefore a real pleasant surprise to receive a Cabinet decision dated May 2015, notifying the decision of Government to assign these premises, the former Customs House, to the Bureau as its permanent headquarters,” he said.

According to the Statistics Act, the Bureau has the responsibility, “to collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information relating to the social, agriculture, mining, commercial, industrial and general activities of the inhabitants of Guyana.”

Over the course of the next two years, the Bureau will be conducting a labour force survey and a household budget survey to provide key data on employment and other socio-economic factors such as consumption and poverty.

The Bureau will also establish a Poverty Unit in order to make poverty data accessible on a more frequent basis.

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