‘Closing the data gap’

During the launch of the online portal for BPP 2021 on Tuesday, the second minister of finance and economy said the e-Census will improve the quality and consistency of data, as well as improve timeliness in data collection and processing.

“Accurate, fast and reliable data is very important in any planning made by the government,” YB Dato Seri Setia Dr Hj Mohd Amin Liew Abdullah said, citing the COVID-19 pandemic as an example of the need for real-time data.

He also urged the public to use the e-Census, hoping to see widespread adoption of the system when the census begins next year.

Addressing Brunei’s data gaps, the minister said a National Data Coordination Steering Committee had been set up to “strengthen efforts towards reducing the data gap” and in turn provide an accurate picture of issues such as employment and wages, GDP growth and foreign direct investment flows.

The committee will be chaired by the Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy Dato Seri Paduka Dr Hj Abdul Manaf Hj Metussin.

YB Dato Dr Hj Mohd Amin also called on government agencies to focus on building capacity in data analytics, so departments could utilise relevant statistics in their research and policy planning.

He cited the example of the Household Expenditure Survey, which was used to determine the Minimum Cost of Basic Needs. That baseline will now be used in the recently-digitalised National Welfare System to determine the eligibility of a person to receive welfare assistance.

The minister said the committee should facilitate information-sharing between government agencies, while also addressing any legal concerns in doing so.

“Through the sharing of data, it can reduce overlapping work where various agencies collect the same data, and this in turn will be able to reduce government spending on data collection, ” he said. “However, it should also be remembered that privacy and confidentiality of data should always be maintained.”