STATIN misses out on $27.9m UN grant
Grant funding amounting to US$259,162 (J$27.9 m) from the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) for the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) to develop a National Statistics System (NSS) for the country has been lost owing to delays in its implementation.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament is expected to quiz STATIN today about this project, which includes the development of a Statistical Master Plan, when its management appear before the hard-hitting committee.
A recent query by the Auditor General's Department (AGD) about the project confirmed that it was incomplete. The project was originally conceptualised as a three-year project to run from October 2009 to October 2012.
The AGD reported in a document tabled during a PAC sitting last week that a draft gap analysis was delivered under the project in December 2012. According to the AGD, a team of senior officers at STATIN is now reviewing the draft gap analysis with a view to recommend the development of a statistical master plan.
Funded by 'internal sources'
Responding to queries from the AGD, STATIN advised that a review of the gap analysis was currently being funded by "internal sources" and would continue in the 2014-2015 fiscal year.
Commenting on what contributed to delays in the project, STATIN said the exercise began with the engagement of a project manager in September 2010 and a senior statistician in October, representing a loss of one year in project life.
"This loss of time should have been replaced at the back end given the expansive and intricate nature of such a project. "International best practices recommend at least three years for the completion of a statistical master plan. UNDP, the funding agency, however, only extended the project to December 2012," STATIN reported.
However, the AGD still has concerns about how the remaining components of the project would be funded.
Last week, STATIN was summoned to appear before the PAC but its director general, Carol Coy, was a no-show as she was said to be overseas on assignment. This explanation did not go down well with committee member Everald Warmington, who questioned whether STATIN was running a "one-man show". According to Warmington, another senior member of staff should have deputised for Coy at the committee meeting.