Sri Lanka to make state statistics more accessible

ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka to bring new laws to make data compiled by the state statistics office more accessible, a minister said.

"I’m looking to amend the law for the Department of Census and Statistics for the data to be shared, more than what is currently being shared," Public Distribution and Economic Reforms Minister Harsha de Silva said.

Speaking at the Asia Liberty Forum 2019 in Colombo, co-hosted by the Advocata Institute and the Atlas Network, de Silva said the department, which falls under his purview, is protective of data it collects.

"The department tells others that ‘This is my data, don’t come near it’."

He said a team of ex-researchers are working on the problem and will help formulate legislation on greater data sharing.

Sri Lanka currently has a Right to Information law which mandates all government offices to proactively disclose all available information which does not infringe third parties, national security or key economic policy decisions prematurely.

However, some critics say most state offices have fallen short of the law.

De Silva also said that he will amend some statistical definitions which are archaic, such as how urban and rural areas are defined. (Colombo/Mar23/2019-SB)

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