The Financial Express

Ensuring country's development: Quality data for use in policy-making in focus

| Updated: November 28, 2021 18:08:50

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Speakers at a dialogue on Thursday said production of quality and usable data as well as their transformation to policy-making is imperative for ensuring development of the country.

They said collaboration between public and private sectors is now a demand-driven issue for producing quality and reliable data and for utilising those in policy-making process.

The opinions came from economists, data analysts, civil servants, foreign diplomats and researchers at a dialogue, titled - "Data-driven Policy Making during the Pandemic: Taking the Experience Forward."

Local think-tank the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) organised the virtual dialogue with Dr Debapriya Bhattacharya, Distinguished Fellow of the CPD, in the chair.

Dr Shahnaz Arefin, Secretary of the Statistics and Informatics Division (SID), was present as the chief guest.

Nathalie Chuard, Ambassador of Switzerland in Bangladesh was the guest of honour; and Mohammad Tajul Islam, Director General (Additional Secretary) of the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics, was a discussant.

Anir Chowdhury, Programme Advisor - Data Innovation Cluster of Aspire to Innovate (a2i) Programme; Dr A M Zakir Hussain, Working Group Member of Bangladesh Health Watch (BHW); Dr Morseda Chowdhury, Director - Health, Nutrition and Population Programme (HNPP) of BRAC; and Dr Rumana Huque, Professor - Department of Economics of University of Dhaka, were present as special commentators in the programme.

Dr Fahmida Khatun, Executive Director of the CPD, delivered the introductory speech, while Muntaseer Kamal, Senior Research Associate of the CPD, presented the keynote.

The keynote presenter said the government successfully utilised data in vaccine procurement and inoculation as well as cash transfer programme during the pandemic.

Although Bangladesh has gone ahead a step during the Covid-19 pandemic in data generation and utilisation, it still has to go forward for translating data to policy-making paradigm.

Dr Debapriya said as has been evinced, data-driven approach towards policy-making has shown some improvement during the pandemic.

However, the data generators and the knowledge community must continue their endeavour to sensitise the policy-makers regarding usefulness of data and its proper use.

Documenting the experience, generating evidence of the positive impacts of such initiatives, and opinion building by engaging stakeholders would be needed for ensuring those, he added.

Dr Shahnaz Arefin said they are aware of generating more quality and reliable data for utilising those in the country's development.

"Cooperation and leadership not only from the government but also from the private sector is essential for the best use of data," she opined.

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