Statistics body to simplify reports for policy makers

An official displays a record of the population census. The Uganda Bureau of Statistics wants to start producing reports easily understood by policy makers for planning purposes. FILE PHOTO

Kampala. Tired of producing reports that excite no one except themselves, Uganda Bureau of Statistics will start packaging data in a way that is understandable across the board.
Policy makers who are expected to rely on the statistics produced by Ubos to inform budgeting issues will be among the biggest beneficiaries. Businesses, organisations and researchers, let alone individual users of statistics will be the other beneficiaries of the readable and interpreted figures.

If all goes according to the plan, the final National Population and Housing Census 2014, will be produced in an explanatory way. Here, the figures quoted will be explained in a way that can easily be understood without consulting a technical person.
Speaking in a meeting of experts last week in Entebbe, the Ubos director for population and social statistics, Mr Andrew Mukulu, said they have been accused of producing reports that only people in statistics and related professions can comprehend.
Mr Mukulu said: “After producing the numbers (statistics), we were told to put a little bit of text and now there is demand that we explain what this means and answer the so-what questions.”

Mr Mukulu acknowledged that as technical people, they find it challenging to break down figures, saying: “We want your guidance on this so we want you to tease out the aspect of so what in the information we collect.”
Talking to experts in population, urbanisation, planning and communication, who were tasked to review the census results, identify policy issues and develop messages to communicate, Mr Mukulu said it is time Ubos moved from producing statistical reports to functional pieces of information.

However, he said the usage of statistics is low, including in the government ministries, departments and agencies because they cannot comprehend the reports.
Mr John Mushomi, a lecturer at Makerere University Centre for Population and Applied Statistics, said without readable statistics to inform planning across the entire economic sector, the chances of developing as a country are minimal.

What UBOS wants to do differently

Ubos is looking to enhance census data utilisation in population advocacy and decision making with a view to address emerging issues from the census provisional results.
Ubos) conducted the National Population and Housing Census in 2014.
The Provisional results from the Census 2014 were disseminated to the general public in November 2014.
These included the number of households and total population.
The plan
Attendees. Ubos is planning to undertake further dissemination of the National Population and Housing Census 2014 – provisional results with a focus on their implications on policy making. Prior to this, it will review the census results, identify policy issues and develop messages to communicate.