Vice President U Henry Van Thio delivers opening address at Myanmar Statistic Forum 2018

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Vice President U Henry Van Thio, Chairman of the Central Committee for Accurate and High Quality Statistics addressed the Myanmar Statistics Forum 2018 held at the Myanmar International Convention Centre-II yesterday.
The forum was attended by Union Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Hluttaw representative, Nay Pyi Taw Council members, states/regions planning and finance ministers, Permanent Secretaries, representatives of statistics related departments, experts, researchers, and officials from development partner organizations.
In addressing the forum, the Vice President said the world’s countries designated and celebrated World Statistics Day on 20 October and celebrated it once every five years and Myanmar held it in 2015. The day’s forum is held under the theme “Better Data, Better Statistics, Better Lives: Transforming Data Culture in Myanmar” with an aim towards raising Statistics Literacy, spreading of Data Culture, raise the statistics discipline according to the Statistics Law enacted in January 2018, connect statistics publishers and users, know the requirements of statistics users, conduct paper reading sessions on statistics, and raise the role of statistics among young students through Statistics Quiz.
It is very important for both developing and developed countries to have accurate statistics. Only when a country’s national statistics quality is good can the policy makers, project planners, and socio-economic researchers have good sources to consider in creating development policy and good economic environment as well as to conduct effective division of scarce resources. In addition to this, projects can be monitored and if policies are required to be amended, better amendments can be made.

Businesses can also consider investments based on statistics enabling a better risk management.
Not having true and reliable statistics could result in erroneous division of resources as well as making wrong policy decisions that affect the people’s socio-economic development. Therefore, investments such as developing human resources, establishing networks, emphasis on cooperation mechanisms and statistics literacy as a policy and ensuring the effectiveness of the enacted Statistics Law need to be made.
On the matter of developing the role of the statistics sector, the Statistics Law was enacted on 22 January 2018 as Pyidaungsu Hluttaw Law 1/2018. The Central Statistical Organization is also working towards issuing the rules soon.
To draw up and implement Statistical Policy Brief and National Strategy for Development of Statistics (NSDS) in accordance with the Statistics Law, NSDS Core Strategies was approved and submitted to the economic affairs committee in 2016. State Counsellor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi has discussed and provided guidelines at the economic affairs committee meeting that accurate and qualified statistics are important for our country and implementation of NSDS is to be supported.
In working towards the development of the statistics sector, ministries are required to do both horizontal cooperation and vertical cooperation. As horizontal cooperation, ten work groups were formed according to statistics sectors to cooperate and implement NSDS. At the moment relevant work groups and NSDS Action Plan is placed as Living Document and each were being implemented. Relevant Stakeholders are also invited to cooperate and participate for further development of the statistics sector. Development partner organizations are thanked for helping in the development of the statistics sector.

For the development of the statistics sector it is required to nurture and develop Data Culture among the relevant departments. In addition to this it is also learnt that at the relevant state/region levels among the relevant statistics departments, committees led by states/regions chief ministers as patron and states/regions planning and finance ministers as chairpersons were formed for accuracy of statistics, having proper administrative records, statistics forms, and a uniform and correct storage in coordination with the center as vertical cooperation. The Central Statistical Organization is also working towards establishing a One Stop Data Hub.
People’s lives improve as statistics become better, so relevant ministries, statistics publishers and users need to cooperate and work together towards publishing effective and accurate statistics. There is a need to connect and work to have an improved and good Statistics User-Provider Relations.
Statistics that are the basis for a country’s development is required to be consistent, timely, trustworthy and firm. Only then can the statistics that reflect the country’s current economic and social conditions will be produced. Quality statistics are essential in strengthening practical policies that fulfill people’s requirements and statistics is important in identifying priority sectors and regions for development. As per the saying “Better Data, Better Statistics, Better Lives” only when the quality of statistics is high can the people’s lives rise.
Efforts must be made toward having complete socio-economic information to have accurate statistics. The processes of collecting, collating, analyzing and reporting of information need to be conducted effectively to have complete information.
Having accurate and quality statistics increases trust between the government and the people and the trust of the international community.
Surveys need to be conducted for the development of the statistics sector. It is important to have correct and complete administrative records of departments and records that include details.
In order to conduct reviews and assessments with statistics, Statistic Literacy needs to penetrate and spread not only to departments but also to the people and private sector organizations. Our country is a developing country and despite having limitation in investing resources such as time, money and human resources in statistics, it is important to invest and use it in the most effective way. As data can be converted into policy according to the saying “From Data to Policy” if properly utilized, investments in statistics bring forth huge returns. Central committee members, development partner organizations, work groups and stakeholders are urged to participate enthusiastically towards acquiring accurate and quality statistics according to the theme “Better Data, Better Statistics, Better Lives: Transforming Data Culture in Myanmar”, said the Vice President.
Next, Central Committee for Accurate and High Quality Statistics Vice Chairman Union Minister U Soe Win and Ms. Janet Jackson of United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) delivered messages of greetings and Ms. Gemma of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) explained about the main points related to statistics.
Afterwards, the Vice President presented awards to a student group from Yangon University of Economics who won the first prize in the World Statistics Day contest.
This was followed by Union Minister U Kyaw Tin and Ms. Janet Jackson presenting awards to second and third prize winning students.
A video clip recording the development of Myanmar’s statistics sector was then shown after which the Vice President and attendees took a commemorative group photo.
After the ceremony, the Vice President inspected the exhibition exhibiting photographic record of works on statistics and books.
The Myanmar Statistics Forum was then continued where round table discussions, reading of 15 papers and presentation of Myanmar Statistical Information Service were conducted.

—MNA (Translated by Zaw Min)