Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS) has launched week-long activities to commemorate Africa Statistics Day which will climax on Friday, November 18, 2022.
The African Statistics Day (ASD) was adopted in May 1990 at the UNECA conference of African Ministers responsible for Planning and Economic Development.
Godfrey Nabongo, the Acting Executive Director of UBOS (the official government agency responsible for coordinating, monitoring and supervising the National Statistical System), said ASD is commemorated on November 18 “but Uganda celebrates a week-long of activities to mark the importance of Statistics and thus celebration starts today 14th – Friday 18th”.
The celebrations are meant to raise public awareness about the important role that statistics play in all aspects of social and economic life.
The theme for 2022 is “Strengthening data system by modernizing the production and use of agricultural statistics with a view of informing policies to improve resilience in agriculture, nutrition, and food security on the African Continent”.
“We need to come together and celebrate. We may have challenges but these challenges are outweighed by achievements,” he told journalists at UBOS head offices in Kampala on Monday.
Nabongo said UBOS has partnered with the Uganda Statistical Society (USS) as a way of strengthening partnerships because “we cannot do this alone”.
“Statistics is a professional discipline. After understanding it, you can hold others accountable, move forward and receive services. We have been celebrating this day for 20 years. So, starting today till Friday, we will be celebrating,” he said.
He said the focus this year is on agricultural statistics. Interestingly, most of the people in Africa and Uganda in particular, are involved in agriculture.
“We want to know where we are and where we want to be as far as agriculture and food security is concerned.”
Aliziki Kaudha Lubega, the Director of Economic Statistics, said statistics help the country to reflect on inflation and Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
“For example, despite Covid-19, we registered a growth in GDP. This growth was spurred by the growth in manufacturing,” she said.
According to Kaudha, inflation levels have now jumped to a double-digit (10.7%) yet the rate of increase is a bit slower.
UBOS last month said the Annual headline Inflation for October 2022 increased to 10.7% from 10.0% in September 2022. The Annual core inflation rose to 8.9% in October, and in September was 8.1%.
“Some items like fuel have registered reductions. The rate of fuel price increase has gone down,” she revealed, adding that it is actually food and not services pushing up inflation.
According to UBOS, Maize flour inflation rose to 91.5%, and in September was 60.2%. Rice inflation rose to 43.3% in October, and in September was 32.2%. Matooke (bunch) rose to 75.4% from 59.8% in September. Irish/Brown potatoes inflation rose by 14.9% in October 2022 from the 11.7% rise recorded in September 2022.
On the other hand, Petrol inflation lowered to 45.6% in October 2022 from 55.3% in September while Diesel Inflation lowered to 52.1% in October 2022, September 2022 it was 63.0%.
She said UBOS has thus embarked on agricultural surveys, Uganda business inquiries and monitoring of cross-border trade (goods and services). “We know that imports have increased but exports are also increasing.”
On his part, Nabongo said these surveys respond to data requirements fitting into different frameworks in case UBOS needs to change or update data.
James Muwonge, the Director of Methodology and Statistical Coordination Services, said their role as UBOS is to strengthen partnerships and collaborations because “we can’t work in isolation”.
“We generate statistics and do further analysis beyond that. We are focusing on agriculture and food security to make sure that any gap that exists or information needed to address that gap is provided so that better decisions are made,” Muwonge told journalists.
He said, for example, the surveys inform policy and give the policymakers the direction to take.
James Wokadala, the Vice President of the Uganda Statistical Society, who also doubles as the Dean School of Statistics and Planning at Makerere University, said their role is to impart knowledge, conduct research and do community service.
“Better planning for agricultural statistical production, dissemination, uptake and use is very critical. We need robust evidence for planning and to guide better decision-making in agricultural production,” he pointed out.
“We are at the centre of this cause and add value to this whole process (processing data and disseminating it). We are also mindful of the methodology used to generate the statistics.”
He said part of the activities include a debate on Thursday at Makerere University about theories and practices in agricultural statistics.
According to him, the institution produces cadres who participate in the generation of statistics. He praised UBOS for maintaining open-sourced data but cited a need for increasing access.
Each year, the celebration of African Statistics Day revolves around raising awareness amongst decision-makers, development partners, data producers and users, academia, researchers, and the public on the importance of statistics on a specific theme.
The African Centre for Statistics in collaboration with the African Union Commission, the African Development Bank and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations are jointly organizing to commemorate ASD on 16 November 2022 at the regional level.
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