Trusted provider of statistical services for good governance
To lead the efficient production and management of quality official statistics based on international standards, using competent staff for evidence-based decision-making, in support of national development.
The core values are essential to achieving high performance levels and to create an organization that will foster:
Brief history of the Ghana Statistical Service
Efforts to institutionalise the collection and dissemination of statistical information began in 1891, when the first population census in the country, then called the Gold Coast, was conducted. Several decades hence, in 1948, after the end of World War II, the Office of the Government Statistician was established. The functions of the Office continued to evolve and, in 1961, the Office of the Government Statistician was expanded and renamed as the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).
In 1985, the Provisional National Defence Council (PNDC) passed the Statistical Service Law 135, which established the Ghana Statistical Service as part of the Ghana Public Service.
The Law (PNDC Law 135) established the Statistical Service Board as the governing body that reports to the presidency. The GSS Board consists of a Chairman and five other members all of whom were appointed by the president. The Government Statistician is an ex-officio member of the GSS Board.
Apart from the Head Office there are 10 Regional Offices and over 100 District Offices.
GSS by its mandate has been conducting various censuses, surveys and compiling socio-economic data critical for the management and growth of the country and development of the private sector.
Under the Statistics Service Law, GSS is an autonomous body with a Board of Directors who report directly to the Office of the President.
The role of the Ghana Statistical Service is broadly defined as being responsible for the collection and analysis of statistical data.
The core functions of GSS remain almost identical to that of its predecessor, the CBS (section 9 of the Act). These core functions are:
- Advise Government and all stakeholders on all matters relating to statistical information;
- Collect, compile, analyse, abstract and publish statistical information;
- Conduct statistical surveys and censuses in Ghana;
- Organise a coordinated scheme of economic and social statistics in Ghana.
In the course of performing its core functions, the following conditions, which existed prior to the establishment of GSS, are still in force:
- Legal powers for the collection of information for statistical purposes;
- Penalty application to any one (individual / institution) refusing to cooperate with GSS in the performance of its functions;
- Limitation on the GSS to disclose unauthorised statistical information; and
- Some statistical works, which continue to be carried out within other MDAs, will continue to be managed by the GSS, as coordinating authority.
The GSS has been consistent in performing its functions as required by law, and over the years, it has demonstrated its ability to provide a wide range of official statistics that serve the needs of individuals, organisations, development partners and the government.
The Statistical Service Law
In 1985, the Statistical Service Law (PNDC Law 135) established the Statistical Service, which instrument had the effect of raising the status of the Central Bureau of Statistics from a Government Department under a Ministry to that of an autonomous, independent public service. The Law also established the Statistical Service Board as the governing body that reports to the presidency. The Law specifically:
- provides for a Board to be the overall governing body to determine the form and nature of statistics to be collected and reported on, promote the effective use of statistics, stimulate research activities in all fields of statistics and advise the government on all matters relating to statistics;
- vests in the Government Statistician the responsibility for the day-to-day administration of the GSS, the conduct of national surveys including censuses, and organization of a coordinated scheme of economic and social statistics relating to the country;
- vests in the GSS the responsibility for the collection, compilation, analysis, publication and dissemination of official statistics in Ghana for general and administrative purposes;
- prescribes for the GSS the role of coordination of all developments in statistics outside the GSS.
Fundamental Principles of Statistics
1. Relevance, impartiality and equal access
Official statistics provide an indispensable element in the information system of a democratic society, serving the government, the economy and the public with data about the economic, demographic, social and environmental situation. To this end, official statistics that meet the test of practical utility are to be compiled and made available on an impartial basis by official statistical agencies to honour citizens' entitlement to public information.
2. Professional standards and ethics
To retain trust in official statistics, the statistical agencies need to decide according to strictly professional considerations, including scientific principles and professional ethics, on the methods and procedures for the collection, processing, storage and presentation of statistical data.
3. Accountability and transparency
To facilitate a correct interpretation of the data, the statistical agencies are to present information according to scientific standards on the sources, methods and procedures of the statistics.
4. Prevention of misuse
The statistical agencies are entitled to comment on erroneous interpretation and misuse of statistics.
5. Sources of official statistics
Data for statistical purposes may be drawn from all types of sources, be they statistical surveys or administrative records. Statistical agencies are to choose the source with regard to quality, timeliness, costs and the burden on respondents.
Individual data collected by statistical agencies for statistical compilation, whether they refer to natural or legal persons, are to be strictly confidential and used exclusively for statistical purposes.
The laws, regulations and measures under which the statistical systems operate are to be made public.
8. National coordination
Coordination among statistical agencies within countries is essential to achieve consistency and efficiency in the statistical system.
9. Use of international standards
The use by statistical agencies in each country of international concepts, classifications and methods promotes the consistency and efficiency of statistical systems at all official levels.
10. International cooperation
Bilateral and multilateral cooperation in statistics contributes to the improvement of systems of official statistics in all countries.