A Senior Policy Advisor on Governance with Africa Centre for Parliamentary Affairs (ACEPA) Mr. Issifu Lampo has said access to credible and reliable data by legislators and policymakers is key for Ghana to attain many of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 targets.
According to him, credible data by reliable data producers would enable Members of Parliament (MPs) to be able to hold governments accountable and to achieve the SDGs over the next 15 years, especially Goal One which focuses on poverty reduction strategy.
Mr. Lampo made the call at a two-day Data Accountability Project (DAP) workshop for members of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee of Parliament organized by ACEPA in partnership with Ghana Statistical Services (GSS), INASP, and the Parliament of Ghana in Accra.
The objective of the workshop was to allow the Parliament Committee to understand how the Annual Progress Reports (APRs) of Metropolitan, Municipal, and District Assemblies (MMDAs) have performed in the development and implementation of programmes and projects in the Medium-Term Development Plans (MTDP).
In addition to supporting Parliament’s oversight of SDG progress, the project aims to strengthen MP’s appreciation of the value & contribution of data to parliamentary decision making Credibility and trust in data from the Ghana Statistical Service and other data producers.
Speaking to EXPRESSNEWSGHANA, after the Workshop, Mr. Lampo said despite the slow pace of development, especially where the majority of the country’s population lives in abject poverty, Ghana is on track with the effort of achieving SDG Goal One.
MR ISSIFU LAMPO
He noted that, though lifting the people above the poverty line cannot be done quickly, some of the social intervention policies like free senior high school, and the Livelihood against Poverty Programme (LEAP), among others are acts within the short and medium term to ensure that vulnerable Ghanaians were protected.
To access whether the government is doing well in terms of these programmes, Mr. Lampo said MPs needed reliable data to be able to appreciate the poverty reduction indicators, hence the Data Accountability Projects, known as “DAP I and DAP II.”.
He explained that the Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee (PRSC) of Parliament is the Committee responsible for issues related to reducing poverty in the country, stressing that, the workshop was to help them get in-depth information that would inform their work in the House.
“Data for Accountability helps Parliament to improve quality of life in Ghana through evidence, using data to oversee progress towards SDGs, “he said.
“Comprehensive data for monitoring the progress of SDG implementation is crucial to enable parliaments to perform their oversight and accountability role effectively and ensure no part of the country is left behind.
“The Data for Accountability project will help Parliament to oversee the implementation of the SDGs in Ghana, by providing the evidence needed to monitor progress and advocate better for their constituencies.
“Data is the first focused effort to introduce data for SDG monitoring to any sub-committees in Parliament, and has strong Parliamentary support, with both minority & majority buy-in. We have had several workshops with the Poverty Reduction Committee for DAP I which was basically about them getting to know to access data, where to access, and the value of that data,” Mr. Lampo said.
He added that the DAP I and DAP II projects are situated in an emerging, but important, the intersection between the evidence-informed policy, parliamentary strengthening, and data sectors, emphasizing that, the project will generate crucial learning on how to use data to support the legislation, representation and oversight functions of parliaments could further progress towards the SDGs.
In addition, Mr. Lampo explained the capacity of GSS statisticians and other data producers to engage with Parliament and provide data to inform policy and decision-making, stating that, “the capacity of parliamentary research officers to provide MPs with data and evidence that is most relevant to their work.”
“The ultimate goal is to help Parliamentarians, especially members of the Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee to improve their work, ask probing questions, and interrogate the budgets allocation to the MMDAs by using the credible and reliable data to oversee progress towards the SDGs and others,” he added.
He underscored the importance of providing parliamentarians access to information and Data as they become to appreciate the importance of Data and how it could help them scrutinize government budgets, make meaningful debates and contributions and hold the government and its agencies accountable.
Dr. Opare Djan Nana, Director of Monitoring and Evaluation at the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC) took the parliamentary Committee the review the APR composite Report for 2020/2021, which provides a unique opportunity for the committee members to understand how the composite report has been used in the past.
He charged the MPs to contribute to the development of the nation and its policies through the activities of the commission, which according to him, helped shape decisions and policy formulations.
On his part, Mr. Omar Seidu of GSS also highlighted the work of the services to the parliament committee members, especially on its administrative data at the MMDAs and how it would support medium-term plan implementation, inform APRs, and budget allocation.
He explained to the Poverty Reduction Strategy Committee how important data are to the administration of local governance, especially the MMDAs, and the need to strengthen their work.
Chairman of the Parliament Committee of Poverty Reduction Strategy, Hon Benson Tongo Baba underscored the need for national budgets to be more pro-poor and pro-growth to reduce poverty.
He said evidence available thus far suggests that the composition of budgeted and actual public spending is not shifting towards poverty-reducing activities, adding that, expectations are that the MMDAs programs would increase poverty-reducing expenditures, improve the efficiency and targeting of the deprived communities remained key in fighting poverty.
Some of the MPs who shared their views and expectation after the workshop appreciated the importance of credible and reliable data in their work in parliament and the constituencies.
CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMITTE, BT BABA
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