December 13: Finance Minister Yuba Raj Khatiwada admitted that data in federal Nepal is “disaggregated”.
Speaking at the launch of Nepal Development Update by the World Bank on Thursday (Decemebr 12), the finance minister said the need for Nepal in the new federal setup is reliable and accessible data.
“Nepal’s federal structure has added another dimension for data at the provincial level, which is a challenge but very important for development programs to leave no one behind,” World Bank quoted Khatiwada as saying.
During the function, Finance Minister Khatiwada also revealed that the Statistics Act is in the process of being approved soon. According to the minister, it is expected to further empower the Central Bureau of Statistics and provide added responsibility to subnational governments on data for national policy making.
The World Bank’s senior economist Dr Kene Ezemenari who led the team that produced the update said that future reforms in Nepal will need to be grounded in strong analysis and data to effectively support the country’s growth analysis.
The World Bank said in a statement that the update highlights the importance of data for development, particularly in the context of the country’s historic transition to federalism.
According to the World Bank, federalism has created a surge in demand for more and better data. Enhanced data availability is needed to strengthen planning and budgeting at the subnational levels, including the preparation of Medium-Term Expenditure Frameworks.
In addition, the transfer of fiscal resources to sub national levels also requires data on several parameters. A robust federal framework therefore rests on more and better data that will support evidence-based policies.
In its ‘special focus’ section, the report articulates a vision for a future data ecosystem and the need for short-term reforms to make the most of existing data and long-term reforms that establish an enabling environment that fosters data sharing, integration and use. Measures that can be implemented in the short-term include the publication of data in machine readable format, and the development of a comprehensive data dissemination policy and open government strategy.
“Data is central to the success of federalism. Nepal needs a vision and strategy for a future data ecosystem that is aligned to the new federal structure and promotes engagement of civil society and the private sector,” said Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank country manager for Nepal.
“Engaging all data actors – including civil society, the private sector and government agencies at various levels – can play a greater role in data production, sharing and use. This would help in the design of reforms for better service delivery to citizens and an improved business and investment climate,” he added.