World Bank approves US$150,000 grant to NSCB

The World Bank has approved a US$150,000 grant to support the formulation of the next Philippine Statistical Development Program (PSDP) for 2011-2017.

The grant will be implemented by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) on behalf of the Philippine Statistical System (PSS).

 The PSDP defines the priority statistical programs and activities in the medium term designed to provide vital information and support to the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), as well as to promote efficiency of statistical operations through optimum use of available resources and adoption of cost effective measures.

The new PSDP will contain a medium-term expenditure and human resource plan to help sustain the production, dissemination, communication, and utilization of quality statistics in the country. NSCB secretary general Romulo

Virola said the grant will provide complementary funding to support aspects of the PSDP that are in need of improvement, such as advocacy, budgeting, and resource mobilization, thus helping the PSS improve the coverage and quality of its statistical products.

“Good statistics are important for development, and the new and improved PSDP will help make a better case for putting statistics high in the policy agenda,” Dr. Virola said.

“Generating relevant and useful statistics will strengthen evidence-based decision making and contribute to improving economic and social outcomes.”

“Investing in statistics, as an underpinning of other investments, is necessary so that social protection programs, such as conditional cash transfers, benefit those who are eligible, and that roads are built where they are needed. This will improve growth prospects that would reach the poor,” Dr. Virola added.

NSCB will closely coordinate with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to ensure that the PSDP is aligned with the priority programs and policies of the Administration and that statistics will be given importance in the MTPDP.

World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman said this new grant is part of the World Bank’s continuing support to the Government’s efforts to improve the quality of statistics in the country.

“The bank’s three-year Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) has committed to support the Government’s program to improve the country’s statistical system, starting with the national accounts, then poverty and household statistics,” Mr. Hofman said.

“Good statistics are crucial to accomplishing our mission of supporting the country’s goal of achieving inclusive growth.”

In addition, Mr. Hofman said that statistics can prevent corruption, since it helps to ensure transparency and accountability, especially in public expenditure. Mr. Karl Kendrick Chua, Task Team Leader for the World Bank’s statistical capacity building projects, said that the approval of the grant is timely and highly significant, given NSCB’s mandate to produce the PSDP at every start of a new administration.

“The grant complements the government’s resources and ensures that the formulation of the new PSDP will benefit from international good practices on statistical development,” Mr. Chua said.