Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick
Government has heard the cries of technocrats and statisticians who have been calling for the timely delivery of statistics from the Barbados Statistical Service (BSS). To this end, Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick has announced a multi-million upgrade of the island’s National Statistical System.
The Minister and representative of the Inter-American Development Bank, Anneke Jessen, initialed the US $6.25 million loan agreement today to activate the Modernisation of the BSS Project. The signing ceremony took place in the Ministry’s conference room, Reef Road, St Michael. The IDB has allocated US $5 million while government will foot US $1.25 million.
According to Dr. Estwick, the project will be completed in three years and was conceptualised due to a plethora of requests from its stakeholders for an improvement in the delivery of statistics.
The objectives of the project, said Dr. Estwick, would include the strengthening of the Statistical Service to provide relevant, timely and quality economic and social statistics; to establish the leadership of the department in statistics within the public sector; improve the managerial, statistical and administrative procedures of the department; develop priority statistical products and to enhance the technical infrastructure of the department and its capacity for dissemination of its products and for facilitating public access to statistical information.
He stressed that statistics compiled by the BSS, would be more widely used in academic research, and to assist in the regional integration process by the public and private sectors.
In highlighting other benefits of the project, Dr. Estwick said it would also lead to the incorporation of other stakeholder agencies that collect, compile and produce statistics.
To effectively tackle the challenges posed by the global economic meltdown, the Minister said accurate and timely data was necessary in order to make speedy decisions on the island’s economic outlook.
“Already, we have been grappling with domestic rising prices, with much of it originating from our overseas trading partners. Due to our interdependence with economies worldwide, events elsewhere may affect us from time to time and we have to be proactive in responding as necessary.
“To respond to these challenges, it will be crucial to have to hand, accurate and timely data, which can guide the quick response necessary to make speedy decisions. The Barbados Statistical Service and the National Statistical System must therefore be equipped with the tools and the capacity to be a world-class player with regard to the dissemination of statistical data,” he remarked.
Dr. Estwick gave the assurance that the successful implementation of the Modernisation Project and successful statistical data inputs, would assist in the island’s national development.