Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick??(FP)????

A government minister has advised technocrats to fashion their nation-building policies around statistics to better predict the island’s development outcomes.

This call was made today by Minister of Economic Affairs, Empowerment, Innovation, Trade, Industry and Commerce, Dr. David Estwick as he addressed the Barbados Statistical Services’ (BSS) Advocacy Forum on Statistics at the Frank Collymore Hall.

Dr. Estwick, said statistics must become "the cornerstone of our decision-making process and the building-blocks of research, planning and discussion within governments, the community at large and must also form one of the important pillars of our democracy".

Describing the Forum as a milestone in the island’s statistics strategy, the Industry Minister explained it would allow statisticians, policy makers, academics and representatives of various groups, to discuss the development of institutional frameworks and technical initiatives aimed at identifying the importance of statistics for policy, monitoring, research and decision-making for the economy.

He also identified specific objectives that should be discussed during the sessions. "As a developing nation, we must be determined to engender a statistical culture that would place us on a path of evidence-based policy making.?? We must therefore, find methods that would assist in the production of timely, relevant and accurate statistics.?? More importantly, our deliberation here today, must be couched in a shared vision that seeks to advance the strengthening of inter-agency collaboration in relation to the development and monitoring of statistics," Dr. Estwick added.

The Economic Affairs Minister also made an appeal for the production and harmonisation of timely and high quality statistics.

He added: "The time has come for all, as responsible citizens, to acknowledge that statistical under-development poses challenges to a full appreciation of the shape of any economy at any given point of time.?? So, timely and accurate information is now more widely recognised as the key to progress, development and success."

Dr. Estwick pledged government’s continued support of the BSS’ programmes which are aimed at improving the development of statistics and monitoring frameworks.

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