The National Statistical Office (NSO) has said statistical data is vital for national development, adding that it helps in national budget planning as government knows what social services are needed for the people.
Commissioner of Statistics, Mercy Kanyuka, said this on Saturday in Mzuzu during the celebration of Africa Statistics Day which falls on November 18.
The Zomba-based statistical body is a government department responsible for collection and dissemination of official statistics.
Kanyuka said NSO is doing its best to ensure that statistical data is available to all groups of people in the country.
“For example, even though documents on statistics are in English, we have made sure that they are accompanied by graphs and graphics that an illiterate person can ably understand,” said Kanyuka.
Deputy Minister of Defence Jappie Mhango asked NSO to open up to the public by providing timely statistical information so that they make informed decisions.
“The National Statistical Office has the responsibility of ensuring that the public gets access to all types of statistical data they may request regardless of their affiliations.
“If these people are more informed on statistical data of this country, they will be able to make informed decisions in their various fields of work,” said Mhango.
He said if people know statistical trends of the country, both national and international investors will make knowledge-based investments.
This year’s celebration was held under the theme ‘Open data for accountability and inclusiveness’.
“Open data means that the data should be available to the public free of charge or at very low cost,” said the deputy minister.
Among other activities, NSO displayed different reports on surveys conducted between 1950 and 2014.
At the event, people were sensitised on the dangers of giving false information to data collectors from NSO when conducting their surveys.
It was learnt that it is common for people not to give correct information, particularly about their families in terms of how many children they have.
“How can government consider building a clinic in your area when you cheat that you have few or no children at all?” said one official from NSO at the event.