NSB to streamline and strengthen statistical system
With directives from the government, the National Statistics Bureau (NSB) is proposing to centralize the Bhutan Statistical System (BSS) by carrying out major nationwide surveys and censuses for effective and efficient production and dissemination of official statistics.
To produce, maintain and disseminate timely, reliable and relevant statistical information for policy and decision making in the country, a need has been felt for streamlining and strengthening the BSS.
Currently, the statistical system in the country is mostly a decentralized system, with individual, ministries, departments and agencies collecting and disseminating their own data.
In many instances, there has been duplication of efforts, whereby different organizations carry out data collection for data that already exist in some other organizations, leading to wastage of limited resources. Also, due to the lack of proper coordination, standards, and definitions, many of the data collected are neither comparable nationally nor internationally.
“The comprehensive proposal to strengthen and streamline the BSS is peer reviewed, consulted and developed with an objective to address the challenges of data duplication, reliability, inconsistencies, conflict of interest, respondents’ burden and fatigue,” said NSB’s Planning Officer, Birkha Gurung,
He added that centralized data production and dissemination would not only ensure international standards, methods, concepts and definitions but also make efficient and effective use of limited resources.
In the centralized system, NSB will be the main central organization to carry out all the national level surveys and censuses. However, the respective ministries will conduct the small-scale sector specific surveys and studies. Agencies’ data upon clearance by NSB will be submitted to NSB for data archival and dissemination purposes. NSB shall be the custodian of all statistical information collected through surveys, censuses and administrative data.
The lowest level of administrative statistical information will be compiled and maintained by the gewog administration, where a gewog database system will be established and managed by the Gewog Administrative Officer (GAO). The information from gewog administration shall flow to the Dzongkhag Statistical Officers (DSOs) where they will validate the data with relevant sector heads and maintain the overall dzongkhag database system and will also submit dzongkhag data to the NSB.
Meanwhile, the GAO will coordinate with the DSO on all statistical matters of the gewogs.
NSB will also coordinate directly with the central government organizations, autonomous agencies, corporate and private sectors for all data requirements for its regular statistical publications and maintain a data repository for the country.
The centralization of all national level surveys will entail a year-round planning, designing, coordination and training. All major surveys have to be carried out at regular intervals in order to have reliable and timely statistics. In addition to these surveys, there are other surveys that have to be carried out annually to monitor the success indicators such as the Annual Performance Agreements, Five Year Plans, and Sustainable Development Goals.
With directives from the Royal Civil Service Commission, the NSB conducted a three-day consultative workshop from November 21-23 involving the relevant stakeholders to review and finalize the comprehensive BSS proposal with financial and technical support from the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21).