The World Bank says it is in the dark as to why Parliament has failed to approve the Statistics Development Programme project intended to strengthen the national statistical system.
The US$30million World Bank-funded project is expected to strengthen the national statistical system in the production and dissemination of timely and robust statistics relevant for evidence-based policy-making and other uses.
The Bank, in its latest Status of Projects in Execution Report, says delay in getting parliamentary approval for the project has affected disbursement of funds for its implementation.
“It is not clear why Parliamentary approval for this project, which has already been approved by the Board of Directors of the World Bank, has stalled. Once Parliamentary approval is given and the legal documents signed by the Minister of Finance, project implementation will begin,” it said.
The Ghana Statistics Development Programme was approved by the World Bank's Board of Directors in August 2011 to help the country implement the Ghana Statistics Development Plan (2009-2013) -- the country’s national strategy for the development of statistics.
The project was submitted to Cabinet in November 2011 and received Cabinet approval in March 2012, and was submitted for Parliamentary approval two months later. However, due to the general elections, Parliament was unable to approve the project at that time, but is envisaged to effect the August 2016 project completion date.
“A request for extension of the period between Board approval and signing and effectiveness has been requested by the Minister of Finance and submitted to the Regional Vice President for consideration,” the Bank has said.
Nearly half of the project funds are earmarked to enhance capacity of the Ghana Statistical Service, with the rest targetted at inducing institutional reforms and organisational change, data development and dissemination, project management, and Monitoring and Evaluation.
The Ghana Statistical Service has had challenges in executing its mandate, including the quality of its staff -- thereby affecting the timely release of vital statistical data for decision-making.
According to the World Bank, a US$6.2million Multi Donor Trust Fund -- implemented to support the Statistics Development Programme and prepare the GSS for institutional reform, and to ensure timely and extensive analysis and dissemination of census data -- is completed without progress in key milestones.
“The proportion of GSS staff with professional qualifications is currently 38% -- lower than the end-target of 50%. Achieving this target has been affected by delays in the implementation of institutional reform that would have reduced the number of staff without a professional qualification.
“The Statistical Capacity Index score has fallen from 61% in 2011 to 59% in 2012, reflecting lack of recent poverty-data, time since the last agricultural census, completeness of the vital registration system, and time since the last re-basing of the Consumer and Producer Price Index.”
According to the Wold Bank, the delay in parliamentary approval of the SRF/IDA project has had an impact on the combined support to achieve the Ghana Statistics Development Programme indicators.