Opinion and Analysis
Bureau of statistics is unexploited gold mine
Posted Sunday, May 27 2012 at 17:12
The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) has taken a positive step in developing a new statistical frame.
According to recent advertisements by KNBS, “the frame, which is a register of households, is normally developed after the population housing census has been undertaken’’.
If carefully planned and undertaken, this project of developing statistics could turn KNBS into a goldmine.
Statistics are used for many purposes including the following. They can be sold to researchers for academic and other reasons; they can be used by different government sectors for policy formulation, planning and forecasting; and private entities such as business companies can buy and use the data to map out their business plans.
For instance, they can be used to plan product expansion for a region experiencing increased population and consumption.
Thus, apart from generating income for the Kenya government, statistics collected by KNBS can be helpful in many ways.
What is most impressive is that KNBS is beginning to see the need to gather data more aggressively.
In this spirit, plans need to be made to train KNBS staff and post them in different counties to continuously collect and relay data to the central bureau for analysis, sale, and use.
In many countries, data is collected daily by private entities such as credit bureaus that sale the data expensively to governments, individuals, and businesses.
Governments have undertaken ambitious projects to collect and sell data. The US is known for collecting all sorts of data even beyond her national borders.
The new spirit at KNBS should be spread to collecting data on consumer goods and services. This area lags behind others in Kenya.
For instance, if KNBS had been collecting and analysing statistics on consumer patterns of goods like sugar, wheat, and medicine in North Eastern Province, it would have raised the red flag on irregular consumption and growth in population as early as 2005.
This failure is responsible for the North Eastern’s population rise shock that hit Planning minister Wycliffe Oparanya in 2010.
It does not require prophecy for us to know that this will happen again.