A legislative body of Upper House of parliament stressed on Friday for the authenticity of the statistical data, arguing that future plans for development,including budget-making, wholly depend on data availability. The session of the Senate Standing Committee on Statistic, chaired by Senator Dr. Jehanzeb Jamaldini, deliberated upon the usual incomplete nature of the statistics provided by the government department, which were always different from that by international organizations. There was thus said to be a dire need for the provision of authentic data to all stakeholders, which would help the government properly plan the future. Senator Nighat Mirza, Senator Lt. Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum, Leader of the House of the Senate of Pakistan, Syed Shibli Faraz along with senior officers from the Ministry of Statistics, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and The State Bank also attended the meeting. The agenda before the Committee entailed the coding system of Pakistan and the issues in data compilation. The meeting commenced with a detailed briefing of the Ministry of Statistics on the coding system in Pakistan and a classification based on international taxonomy. Senator Lt. Gen (R) Abdul Qayyum inquired from the Ministry about the measures taken to maintain data authenticity and the role that the Committee can play in introducing legislation to help. The Committee was informed that the Ministry faced huge problems while gathering data in Sindh. However, it was trying to sensitize the province that this would lead to a drop in the Province’s international share which will have adverse effects on its economic growth. It was revealed that a mere 20 per cent data was retrieved from Karachi which was the hub of Industrial and Economic activity. While emphasizing the need for quality control, Chairman Committee, Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini stressed the need for quality control. He said that without quality management Pakistan tends to lose its business share internationally. He said that the Committee must ensure that all measures were taken to ensure that the Ministry of Industry facilitates the Bureau of Statistics and the Ministry of Statistics in every way to obtain accurate data. While discussing details of data acquisition from Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL), Leader of the House, Senator Shibli Faraz objected to the fact that data was being compiled in terms of Pakistani rupees instead of international USD standards. He stressed the need for data compilation in USD and said that data other than in this form could be considered deceptive. He deliberated upon the need for authentic data for strong policymaking and said that by the end of the term of this government Pakistan would possess a strong database that would provide information on all sectors. It was revealed that currently the Ministry did not have a Chief Statistician and that policies were being formulated to ensure that the Ministry staffs who have been working in junior positions were promoted to this level. The Committee also assured the Ministry of its absolute support. Published in Daily Times, February 16th 2019.