Pakistan Bureau of Statistics to go for capacity building after census


LAHORE: The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has requested the World Bank for restructuring Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) since the census cost Rs14 billion along with major capacity constraints issues, it is learnt.

The Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (TFSCB) was established on April 13, 1999 to strengthen the capacity of statistical systems in developing countries. It is a global grant facility, administered by the Development Data Group of the World Bank on behalf of the contributing donors.

The grant agreement, signed with the World Bank in 2015, meant for improving sampling for the Population and Agricultural Censuses, will be meterialised now after completion of the ongoing census.

The documents available with Pakistan Today, mention that first part involved updating the item budget shares in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) using a more comprehensive income and expenditure survey. The data has been out of the field and was being prepared by the PBS to be shared with the Bank for survey known as the Household Income and Consumption Survey (HICS), was implemented from July 2015 to June 2016

Going forward, the documents said, the focus was to incorporating rural price data into the CPI. Field visits by the PBS staff to learn from other countries’ experiences were also been arranged. However, it could not be meterialised by the PBS before going into Population census.

The documents say that the proposed Level 2 restructuring aims to extend the closing date 1 year from December 2016 to December 2017, adjust the target dates of the project indicators to match the new end date of the grant, add travel for STCs as an eligible expense category, and modify some project activities to align with the current demands from the government and the extended time frame.

Talking about the capacity constraints, sources told Pakistan Today that Pakistan has not been able to completely implement UN System of National Accounts 1993. They said that the statisticians graduating from Pakistani universities lack applied experience and the on-job training provided to these statisticians were usually obsolete.

They said that the foreign training provided to several statisticians pay little returns, as upon their return as these officials either did not serve in same locations for required time or leave the department following the poor career structure. They mentioned a lot of cases where statisticians recruited by the Federal Bureau of Statistics were now serving in other ministries or departments on a contract basis or were working under Section-10. “They should not be blamed entirely as their counterparts in attached departments have a remuneration package which is three times than what they get in their parent department,” PBS sources added.

The experts on the other hand, however, claimed that there is a complete absence of updating sampling methodology for conducting micro-level surveys across Pakistan. ‘We have a household-level Pakistan Social and Living Standards Measurement Survey — of which the sampling methodology has rarely changed. One struggle is to find any representative data in this survey on FATA or Azad Jammu and Kashmir,’ they added.

They said that such regions could have become part of our database had the governments adopted rotating samples across various years. Experts stressed a need for serious contemplation with regards to institutional gaps within governance and its capacity.