The Hon. Edward Scicluna announced the new Malta Statistics Authority Board (MSA) during a visit to the National Statistics Office (NSO) premises on Wednesday 31st July, 2013.
Prof. Scicluna also underscored the importance that the NSO play in providing the necessary information the Government requires to guide the country towards stability and greater economic growth.
The Finance Minister presented the new MSA board, which will be chaired by Prof. Albert Leone Ganado, in whom Prof. Scicluna expressed full confidence. Prof. Scicluna also took the opportunity to thank outgoing chairman Mr Reno Camilleri for his years of service and his contribution to the institution.
The Malta Statistics Authority Board is composed of Prof. Leone Ganado as Chairman, Dr Aaron George Grech as deputy chairman, and Prof. Edward Zammit, Mr Emanuel Delia, Mr Godwin Mifsud, Dr Ian Cassar, NSO Director General Mr Michael Pace Ross, and Mr Robert Borg as board members.
In a brief address, Prof. Scicluna explained while it is important that the MSA board be composed of technical individuals with a background in statics, outside representatives are also important. He noted that two members of the board, Mr Emanuel Delia and Mr Robert Borg, were employers’ and union representatives respectively.
Prof. Scicluna stressed that among its priorities for action, the MSA would be working towards enhanced governance in the statistics sector.
“Statistics are of great importance to the country because of how they provide the necessary gauges for decision makers,” Prof. Scicluna said. “One cannot safely guide the ship of state without precise gauges and indicators in place conveying much-needed information to decision makers.”
“Finance Minister announces new Malta Statistics Authority Board”
He said that this importance is in the ongoing context of the greater emphasis on statistical governance and scrutiny in the wake of how the Eurozone crisis was sparked off by an ailing member state which concealed the true state of its public finances.
“Both the European Parliament and the European Council are placing great importance on what is known as ‘upstream data’,” Prof. Scicluna said, explaining that this refers to data that is provided by the Government.
“It is important that the existing code of conduct for governments that supply data – i.e. public financial data – is adhered to. It is one of the top priorities for the NSO,” Prof. Scicluna said.
He also said that work needs to be done to ensure that duplication of data is cut down so as to reduce unnecessary administrative surveys on business entities.
Prof. Scicluna recognised the difficulties being faced by the National Statics Office, and acknowledges the disadvantages it faces given Malta’s small size with obvious limitations with regards to expertise, capacity, and other operational issues.
He pledged his full support to the institution, and said that the Government would work towards strengthening Malta’s national statistics institution so that its data and the mechanisms it uses are as reliable and accurate as possible.
Following his address, Prof. Scicluna also toured the NSO’s offices and met personally with various officials and staff.
– Wednesday, 31st July, 2013.