Open data policy on drawing table

TANZANIA is drafting its open data policy as part of the global movements that seek to broaden data and information access to ensure transparency and accountability in all governments activities. Apparently, the policy will put in place procedures for identifying government open data and providing institutional framework for data management.

Addressing the National Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) Data Roadmap Workshop held in Dar es Salaam yesterday, Chief Secretary (CS), Mr John Kijazi, outlined that the policy will also establish a single window through which citizens can access data as well as provide platform for uploading and updating of the data.

"The goal is to enhance access of government data by the public in a user-friendly manner that allows the use and reuse of the data for socio-economic development," the CS said in a statement read on his behalf by Permanent Secretary (PS) in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, East Africa and International Cooperation, Ambassador Azizi Mlima. "The open data policy is in the approval process by the government," he added.

Tanzania which joined the Open Government Partnership initiative in 2011, issued guidelines on open data in January, last year, but economists, leaders and statisticians maintained that adaptation of the national policy was vital for execution of the SDGs.

But as the government move to broaden access to data and information to strengthen citizen engagement is gaining momentum, there is a glowing fear on data trust and its security across the region. South Africa Statistician General, Mr Pali Lehohla, told the delegates that "Data is the quantity of trust" which requires to be processed scientifically to help hold leaders accountable.

Mr Lehohla who is most described as 'Father of African Statistics' said African countries are most likely to be the victims of data owing to limited management of data in the globe.

"Data must be open and transparent, however, it is unfortunate that at the global approach, data commission is not under the United Nations Secretary General, Mr Ban Ki-Moon. African governments are moving faster to develop infrastructures for data, but it is crucial that data be under the UN," he said.

The expert observed that data revolution and technological developments were key factors which will pose threat to African data. National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) Director General, Dr Albina Chuwa, said neither European Union (EU) nor African Development Bank (AfDB) had mandate over data, the scenario which was likely to paralyse the continent.

Ms Chuwa, however, announced that the two-day meeting would see establishment of a technical team which will help analyse gaps and opportunities in championing open data. "A team will be formed involving representatives from public and private institutions as well as experts," she noted.

She acknowledged the support by the EU which will inject 10 million Euros to finance development of statistics in the country. UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative, Mr Alvaro Rodriguez, speaking at the workshop said current data revolution will help avoid problems faced with MDGs during SDGs implementation.

"Lack of reliable data undermined government's ability to optimise investment decisions, manage development processes and measures progress," he said, adding; "New technology offer tremendous opportunity to deliver public services to more people at lower cost."

Open data policy on drawing table Open data policy on drawing table Reviewed by on 3:52:00 AM Rating: 5

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