A three Day Parliamentary Data Fair has been opened in Ghana’s Parliament with departments and committees exhibition and State Intuitions and Civil Society organizations participating.

The Fair and exhibition event is being organized by parliament in collaboration with the Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA), the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) and INASP  to enable Parliament and parliamentarians to perform their oversight and accountability role effectively.

The initiative forms part of the Data for Accountability Project (DAP) funded by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation as part of a continuation of DAP I (implemented from 2019 to 2021).

The second phase of the Project spans from December 2021 to December 2024 and is aimed at promoting evidence use in Parliament’s performance of its mandate especially in overseeing progress towards the SDGs.

The Inter-Departmental Research and Information Group (IDRIG) is aimed at promoting collaboration among information units in parliament as they work to meet the data and information needs of members and staff of the Parliament of Ghana. 

The theme for this year’s fair is “Openness and Transparency: Promoting the use of credible Data and Evidence in the Parliament of Ghana.”

The event also aimed at ensuring the availability and use of the most relevant, and high-quality evidence, the hallmark of effective policy-making and evidence-informed policy making promotes the integration of the best available research evidence into the decision-making process.

Speaking at the opening ceremony in Parliament on Tuesday, July 19, 20222, the First Deputy Speaker, Hon Joseph Osei Owusu who read the Speaker’s statement said Parliament as an institution would continue to explore practical avenues for improving the data and evidence used in the performance of its mandate.

According to him, the annual event help promote coordination, sharing and use of data products among the various data producers within parliament and as well promote transparency, engender trust, motivate, and accelerate access to research data for better decision-making in parliament.

The Executive Director of ACEPA, Dr. Rasheed Draman said Parliament has a critical role to play in ensuring accountability by all national players and would need data and evidence to fully discharge its oversight responsibility effectively.

He added that quality data for that matter is needed from the data producers and that could only be met if the data producers understand the work and operation of parliament.

While conceding that the credibility and reliability of Data is an important issue of wide public concern, especially among politicians, Dr. Draman is of the view that with time and the continued advocacy championed by ACEPA, parliamentarians would come to accept and appreciate the importance and values of data in their work

Minority Leader in Parliament, Hon Haruna Iddrisu commended ACEPA and Parliament for organizing the Data fair which in his view remains a critical component of information for MPs.

He said most often than not some MPs debate on figures without giving Data and credible evidence of facts to back them, a phenomenon he believed would be reduced with the effort of ACEPA  and the Parliament Research Department.

According to him, the Parliamentary Services Board has approved a budget for the networking of Broadband for parliament to be connected to the internet as part of policies to enhance its research.

A Senior Governance Advisor with ACEPA, Mr. Issifu Lampo who speaks to EXPRESSNEWSGHANA after the launching ceremony said the Data Fair gives Members of Ghana’s Parliament to encounter with the work of the institutions responsible for Data so they appreciate the fact that anchoring decisions on verifiable evidence lead to better policy outcomes.

According to him, with the Data Fair, MPs were better able to understand how to source data, from whom, and in what format; and most significantly, increased their uptake of data from within and without Parliament. 

He noted that the overall goal is to bring together all the stakeholders to exchange knowledge and promote collaboration among the broader community of data producers such as think tanks, Academic Institutions, GSS, and CSOs/NGOs in meeting Parliament’s data needs.

In addition to that, Mr. Limpo said the Data Fair is expected to contribute to increased awareness of the mandate, products, and services of major data producers in Ghana especially that of the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), especially among MPs and staff  and as well increased visibility of data/information units within the Parliament particularly the Research Department

It is also the expectation of the organizers that, at the end of the three-day fair, the collaboration between GSS, other data producers and the Parliament of Ghana would have increased and as well enhanced the trustworthiness by Parliament of data emanating from GSS and at the same time expanded network of data producers and data users.

The IDRIG Data Fair started in 2017 and has since organised three successful Information and Research Week.

The Data Fair event involved six departments (data producers) of the Parliament of Ghana; namely, the Research Department, Library, Public Affairs, Hansard, Committees, and ICT.

The activities were aimed at publicising the works of these various departments, and exhibiting their research works to Members of Parliament who are the primary consumers of their products.

The objective of this year’s Data Fair, among other things, is to highlight the significance of verifiable evidence, especially statistical data and other types of evidence in supporting parliament’s performance of its oversight mandate including MPs’ oversight of the Government’s implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Source: expressnewsghana.com

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