MANILA, Philippines - The head of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) is expressing concern about the dwindling number of government statisticians.
In the "Sexy Statistics" column on the NSCB website, NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon G. Albert said there are now only 15 NSCB staff working on the annual and quarterly national income accounts. Fifteen years ago, he noted there were 50 NSCB staff doing the same work.
Albert noted other major statistical agencies, such as the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS) have also seen a significant drop in their staff, by at least a fifth of their total human resources in 2004.
"One of the reasons for the dwindling number of statisticians in public service is attributed to the government-wide rationalization initiative initiated under Executive Order No. 366 that pegged institutions to the number of filled plantilla positions in 2004," he said.
Low pay is another reason why many government statisticians are leaving for private sector jobs. Albert noted the government cannot afford to match higher compensation packages offered by private institutions.
"The retirement of employees, prevailing restrictions on hiring of new staff, and the rather limited supply of graduates of statistics programs have all contributed to the dwindling number of government statisticians," he said.
"If statistics are relevant to government and the public, in general, for examining where we are and where we have been, there ought to be a serious attempt to provide the requisite human resources we need in generating statistics, so that the PSS can continue to come up with official statistics effectively," he added.