President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, on Tuesday, emphasised that statistics is at the heart of public policy, as it is crucial to measuring economic success and disseminating pertinent and comprehensive information to the public.
He made this statement on the occasion of World Statistics Day, which is celebrated once every five years. This year, the day is celebrated under the theme of 'connecting the world with data we can trust', intended to underscore the importance of trustworthy and authoritative data when making important policy decisions.
In his statement, President Solih noted the "high value his administration places on measurable goals and policies that are data-driven", adding that, in light of the importance of statistics, he has accepted the cabinet’s recommendation to mark every subsequent October 20 as National Statistics Day.
He further mentioned that the government's Strategic Action Plan (SAP) encompassing the five areas of Blue Economy, Caring State, Dignified Families, Jazeera Dhiriulhunn, and Good Governance, comes with specific and measurable goals, and that their successful outcome can only be measured by hard numbers.
Stating that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has further proved the significance of statistics, he elaborated the importance of timely and detailed statistics in formulating an effective health response.
President Solih also highlighted this administration's transparency with data, pointing to their efforts to regularly update the public on the virus situation, and the fact that the Maldives is among the few countries to provide sex disaggregated data with regard to the pandemic’s trajectory within the country.
Speaking on his decision to accept his Cabinet's recommendation to designate a National Statistics Day, President Solih noted that its purpose is to highlight the significance of statistics to the general public and to ensure that it is given more prominence in our education system.
He reiterated that it is vital that there is a broader national appreciation for the importance of statistics. Further, the President also expressed his gratitude to the dedicated staff at the National Bureau of Statistics for the invaluable work they do to update the public regarding important national trends.
However, concerns continue to be raised over the public's inaccessibility to data and statistics that are expected to be publicised or easily available without going through a rigorous process of requesting for data through a number of government channels.