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WB Approves Grant to Support Formulation of the New Philippine Statistical Development Program

September 12, 2010

MANILA, SEPTEMBER 12, 2010—The World Bank has approved a USD 150,000 grant to support the formulation of the next Philippine Statistical Development Program (PSDP) for 2011-2017. The grant will be implemented by the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) on behalf of the Philippine Statistical System (PSS).

The PSDP defines the priority statistical programs and activities in the medium term designed to provide vital information and support to the Medium-Term Philippine Development Plan (MTPDP), as well as to promote efficiency of statistical operations through optimum use of available resources and adoption of cost effective measures.

The new PSDP will contain a medium-term expenditure and human resource plan to help sustain the production, dissemination, communication, and utilization of quality statistics in the country.

According to NSCB Secretary General Dr. Romulo A. Virola, the grant will provide complementary funding to support aspects of the PSDP that are in need of improvement, such as advocacy, budgeting, and resource mobilization, thus helping the PSS improve the coverage and quality of its statistical products.

“Good statistics are important for development, and the new and improved PSDP will help make a better case for putting statistics high in the policy agenda,” Dr. Virola said. “Generating relevant and useful statistics will strengthen evidence-based decision making and contribute to improving economic and social outcomes.”

“Investing in statistics, as an underpinning of other investments, is necessary so that social protection programs, such as conditional cash transfers, benefit those who are eligible, and that roads are built where they are needed. This will improve growth prospects that would reach the poor,” Dr. Virola added.

NSCB will closely coordinate with the National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) to ensure that the PSDP is aligned with the priority programs and policies of the Administration and that statistics will be given importance in the MTPDP.

World Bank Country Director Bert Hofman said this new grant is part of the World Bank's continuing support to the Government's efforts to improve the quality of statistics in the country. “The Bank’s three-year Country Assistance Strategy (CAS) has committed to support the Government’s program to improve the country’s statistical system, starting with the national accounts, then poverty and household statistics,” Mr. Hofman said. “Good statistics are crucial to accomplishing our mission of supporting the country’s goal of achieving inclusive growth.”

In April 2009, the World Bank approved a USD 400,000 grant to help the NSCB and the National Statistics Office (NSO) improve the quality and usefulness of the national accounts. In 2006, World Bank Trust Fund for Statistical Capacity Building (WB TFSCB) provided a grant to support the development of the Intercensal Small Area Estimates (SAE) of Poverty to identify the country’s poorest municipalities in aid of the government’s household targeting program. These estimates have been used in the Conditional Cash Transfer (CCT) program, Nurses Assigned in Rural Services (NARS) program, and other national and local poverty alleviation initiatives.

In addition, Mr. Hofman said that statistics can prevent corruption, since it helps to ensure transparency and accountability, especially in public expenditure.

Mr. Karl Kendrick Chua, Task Team Leader for the World Bank’s statistical capacity building projects, said that the approval of the grant is timely and highly significant, given NSCB’s mandate to produce the PSDP at every start of a new administration.

“The grant complements the government’s resources and ensures that the formulation of the new PSDP will benefit from international good practices on statistical development,” Mr. Chua said.

A consultative forum with stakeholders, including NEDA, the Department of Budget and Management (DBM), Congress, development partners, and other key users of statistics, will be conducted to validate the proposed strategic plans and programs and, at the same time, provide information on the resources needed to implement the PSDP. During implementation, output indicators will be used to evaluate the success of the project.

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