National Statistical Office gears up for Census 2020

Weekender

In view of experiences from the last census in 2011, the National Statistical Office (NSO) is taking precautionary steps to avoid a repeat of those failures.
An important first step in these preparations is establishing partnerships with key State agencies to create pathways for institutional knowledge-sharing for the common good.
The planning and the implementation of the national population census is an exercise that calls for collaboration by all government agencies and communities nationwide.
And key to achieving results in this major exercise is through better preparations. The 2020 National Population Census is a top priority on the NSO’s to-do list.
Coinciding with the Census are two other important projects, the Household and Income Expenditure Survey and Survey of Business Activities. Both projects run simultaneously with respective delivery timeframes in 2018 and 2019.
To kick start preparation for these major data projects, NSO hosted a successful three day procurement workshop at the Hideaway Hotel in Port Moresby recently.
Workshop participants included the NSO management, project managers and senior officers that deal with procurement.
The aim of the workshop was basically to enhance staff knowledge in understanding and being compliant with all standard procedures in procuring goods and services in the public sector. The sister State agency, Central Supply and Tenders Board (CSTB) facilitated the workshop.
This workshop wouldn’t have been possible without the vision and leadership of National Statistician Roko Koloma.
Since taking office in 2014, Koloma has been working vigorously to reform the NSO to ensure it operates as an important State organisation to perform its mandatory functions effectively, efficiently and professionally.
The reform which was initiated by NEC decision 162/2014 has achieved some key milestones including the release of GDP estimates which are released more regularly than in previous years dating back to 2006. This workshop which is a crucial part of the ongoing NSO reform is something that has never been undertaken for NSO officers in the past. It was indeed an eye-opener to all NSO staff.
In his opening speech, Koloma said the reason for the workshop was to equip his staff who would be involved in major statistical exercises including the 2020 Census.
“Procurement will be, although a tedious and complex process, one of the vital delivery requirements that will need to be implemented well. We at NSO want to do things properly because millions of kina will be invested in this project and the project must be delivered satisfying the administrative and legal requirements of the procurement procedures and processes.”
Hence, the objective of the workshop was to have a demonstrated practical knowledge and understanding of how the procurement system operates in PNG, including the responsibilities of agencies and departments when it comes to discharging public funds.
Workshop facilitator Edward Oa who heads the compliance and monitoring division of the CSTB advised that the principles of a good procurement practice were based on value for money, transparency, effective competition, fair and ethical dealing, efficiency and effectiveness.
The CSTB’s Government Procurement Manual (GPM) with its standard operation procedures together with Public Finance Management Act have set guidelines that must be complied with in any procurement of goods and services.
He urged the participants to use these important Government documents to source out the procurement of goods and services required by the NSO for its various projects and activities.
In summary, Koloma reiterated that “as public servants we should make it part of our duty to be the custodian of the very important Government Procurement Manual (GPM) because we are the players that make a difference in the procurement of the types and quality of goods and services that reach our people.
“I’m using the word quality because I know many of our rural people are not getting the best of what we are providing for them.”
Having sat through the entire three days, Koloma thanked the CSTB for the very successful training for the NSO. He challenged his staff to be more vigilant, effective and responsive in dealing with procurement according to set process, procedures and standards.
He emphasised continued working partnership with CSTB in matters relating to the procurement of goods and services, especially procurements that would be required for the time-bound, resource-intensive projects such as the 2020 National Population Census.
“To you who participated in this workshop, take note that if I ask for anything concerning procurement, you should be able to give me answers. Do not give me the negative. We should not deny and say we didn’t know about the GPM.
“I want staff to implement lessons learned from the GPM.
It’s a very important government document.
“You should be glad that you are given this opportunity to understand this processes and procedures in this workshop. In the past we never had that opportunity.’’

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