Tanzania Daily News (Dar es Salaam)

28 August 2014

Tanzania: Rita, Statistics Bureau Join Forces in Data Assessment

SHORTAGE of precise data for various development programmes will soon become a thing of the past following the introduction of a better system that will be providing accurate and timely statistics.

The system of registration of vital events of life and in data collection is initiated by the government through the Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship Agency (RITA) in collaboration with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS).

These two bodies -- RITA and NBS have jointly agreed to take up comprehensive assessment on civil registration and vital statistics in September this year.

The country, days back did not have a proper system to keep record on deaths, divorces and all other forms of phenomena that affected demographic statistics and number of such events happened without being recorded.

The new system according to RITA Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Mr Philip Saliboko will increase the speed of registering progress, towards attaining the Millennium Development Goals, that include ending poverty, ignorance and disease and accessing basic rights of citizens.

The assessment will also point out reasons that made such events go unrecorded, he said, adding: "From the assessment we will find out why such events were not recorded.

Did they go unreported due to lack of a system, registration bureaucracy or just the geographical positions?" "We will collaborate with NBS in evaluating the collected data because they will help NBS and other stakeholders in various issues," adding that the process will be in line with the population and housing census being conducted after every 10 years.

He said that such assessment will help in the creation of a well defined system which will be used in providing timely and accurate statistics for various development plans.

"Most of the development plans embarked on by the country can only be viable through having in place accurate demographic data," Mr Saliboko said, adding that the agency is determined to ensure that such information is readily available.

He explained that customarily, the government has been depending mostly on the statistics from demographic and settlement census carried out after every ten years and also from different researches.

"These approaches apart from consuming a lot of money, but at times were also not sustainable," Mr Saliboko expounded. He said that with advanced technological innovations and high growth of Tanzanian populations it was high time the government moved from depending on such approaches to other more advanced ways to have good records.

"The system that will be established after conducting this evaluation will enable citizens access their basic rights, including the right of the child to be given a name and legally recognized," he said adding that such system among other things will speed the attainment of the millennium goals.

The CEO further noted that the evaluation exercise is expected to be conducted in fifteen days starting from September 15 to 30, this year all over the country and will engage sampling procedure in all the regions.

"Evaluation will be carried out in different places including offices of Administrative Districts officers, medical centres, police posts, mortuaries, churches, mosques and at the citizens' residence where most of such events happen," he said, adding that the exercise will involve different statistics stakeholders including relevant ministries, institutes, departments, colleges and other different government agencies.

Mr Saliboko pointed out that a number of African countries are also expected to take on similar process to improve accuracy in their databases.

He stated that an agreement to see better ways of having well-formulated demographic information was jointly reached by United Nations (UN) and African Union (AU).

"It was agreed that there was a need the system of registering vital life events for accurate statistics apart from those from other sources like census and research," he hinted.

Mr Saliboko also urged all the citizens to fully participate in the exercise so that the intended goal to have timely and accurate statistics for national development is easily achieved.

The agency's Registration Manager, Ms Angela Anatory said the data will help in evaluating factors that cause deaths or high delivery rates.

"Our collaboration with NBS will go a long way to support it because we work in all regions in Tanzania," she said, adding that the regions have been divided into seven zones.

"We have seven zones, and we will have seven teams which will comprise a total of seven up to ten officials going around the country for that purpose," explained Ms Anatory.

She detailed that for now, the country relies on NBS censuses which are conducted after every ten years, but data being collected by RITA will help in between the times when waiting for the next census.

RITA was officially launched in 2006 and replaces what was known as the Administrator General's Department in the Attorney General's Chambers, Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs.

Its mission is to ensure justice through provision of effective and efficient management of information on key life events, Insolvency and Trusteeship services so as to contribute to the National development.

Ms Anatory affirmed that the agency aims at effective and efficient management of information on key life events, incorporation of trustees, safeguarding properties under trust, of deceased persons, insolvents, and minors to enable the law to take its course.

She noted that the agency works diligently to ensure that it becomes the most efficient and effective Registration, Insolvency and Trusteeship service provider.

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