28 March 2011 The World Bank has approved an International Development Association (IDA) credit of $30 million (over Tsh42 billion) to support the development of a national statistical system for Tanzania. The project aims at providing relevant, timely and reliable data for evidence-based policy making in support of the government's poverty reduction strategy and economic development. It is also expected to contribute to better governance and accountability by providing reliable, relevant and freely accessible information for the civil society, media, researchers and analysts. The World Bank country director for Tanzania, Burundi and Uganda, John Murray Mclntire, said the current national statistical system in Tanzania, for several reasons, is inadequately structured. It does not meet the increasing demands from data users-the civil society, business community, media and academia, he said. "The main actors - the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the Office of the chief Government Statistician in Zanzibar - are severely constrained by limited technical ability, scarce human and financial resources, dilapidated physical infrastructure, lack of coordination and deficient dissemination mechanisms," he said. He said there was a need to reform the organisational and legal framework, including a revision of human resources policies. The bank intends to respond to increased demand for higher quality official statistics in Tanzania by users in recent years, according to him. The new data users from civil societies, the business community, media and academia have also appeared to be demanding new and more advanced statistical products. They include geographical information systems (GIS) and high-frequency and sub-national data. These changes have resulted in a demand for a responsive, demand-driven national statistical system able to deliver data needed to support effective policy and decision-making at all levels. "One of the World Bank's main priorities is to help countries develop national statistical capacity and help mobilise the expertise of the international statistical system," said Mr Mclntire. The World Bank support is part of a larger development programme currently under way to support core reforms, investments in skills and equipment and development of statistical sources, methods, policies and procedures under the Tanzania Statistical Master Plan (TSMP), approved by the government in June 2010.