Jan. 12, 2022


Saleh bin Mohammad Al-Nabit

Qatar

Saleh bin Mohammad Al-Nabit

President, Planning and Statistics Authority (PSA)

“Statistical data and information play a critical role in national development.”

BIO

Saleh bin Mohammed Al-Nabit is president of PSA. He was minister of development planning and statistics between 2013 and 2018. From 2011-2013, he was secretary-general of the General Secretariat for Development Planning, and from 2008-2011, he served as director of institutional development at the General Secretariat for Development Planning. He also contributed to the development of QNV 2030 and the National Development Strategy 2011-2016. The president of the Permanent Population Committee, he holds a PhD in development economics from the University of Bradford and an MBA from Saint Louis University.


How is PSA coordinating with ministries in Qatar on the implementation of the objectives on the National Development Strategies (NDS)?

The mandate of the PSA is premised primarily on coordination and cooperation in all aspects of its national functions with all stakeholders in Qatar including ministries, the private sector, and civil-society organizations. Coordination and cooperation are pivotal to the fulfilment of PSA's role as the body responsible for setting and developing the comprehensive vision of the state and the national development strategies, in close coordination with the relevant authorities. Some of the major roles of PSA involve preparing NDS, following up on their implementation, supporting the planning process in government agencies, and establishing an integrated statistical system. One example of the main ways on how PSA works in coordination with ministries and various stakeholders in Qatar in the process of formulation and implementation of the country's strategic development goals based on the experience from Qatar's Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022. PSA set up an organizational structure with well-defined roles and tasks that guaranteed wide participation and buy-in of the national stakeholders, including representatives from the government and private sector and civil society. The structure included the Council of Ministers at the helm of the structure for guidance and approvals, PSA as the facilitating and coordinating body, a supervisory group composed of high-level representatives of ministries and government agencies, a consultative group composed of high-level representatives of the private sector, civil society, NGO organizations, and academic institutions. The roles and tasks of the structure ensured seamless coordination and cooperation among the various stakeholders in preparing Qatar's Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022, as well as in the follow-up and monitoring of the implementation of the strategy by the ministries. For the purpose of monitoring and follow-up, PSA developed in-house monitoring and follow-up system to ensure that strategic projects and programs are implemented and that relevant corrections and adjustments are made to achieve the strategic goals of NDS. All follow-up and evaluation reports are then submitted to the Council of Ministers and shared with the relevant implementing government agencies.

PSA has been coordinating Qatar's most recent census. How will its results be integrated in the next National Development Strategy 2023-2028?

Statistical data and information play a critical role in national development. Without accurate, reliable, and timely statistical data, no country can formulate a realistic strategy for development. PSA has been able to conduct and publish population census data since 1985. The most recent 2020 Census is the sixth in a series of population, housing, and establishment censuses. PSA intends to further analyze the 2020 Census data and disseminate the results through reports and publish these reports in digital, online, and printed forms. The census data will play a crucial role in supporting the evidence-based planning efforts in Qatar both at the national and agency levels. The data will provide a valuable source of information for researchers and business entrepreneurs as well. PSA intends to utilize the wealth of census data to develop the Third National Development Strategy. The census data will be an integral component in the formulation of strategic national development goals across all four sustainable development pillars—economic, social, human, and environmental. Most importantly, the 2020 Census data will be used to answer the fundamental questions of where we are now, where we want to be, and how we can get to where we aspire to be as a nation.

What is the rationale behind the rollout of the Qatar Statistics app, and what is the response in terms of users?

This advanced smart mobile application Qatar Statistics is available for free download on different types of devices running Android and iOS operating systems. It is an important step that came in conjunction with the start of field visits for Qatar Census 2020. It played an important role for all users who responded to it extensively to register in order to complete the data of Qatar Census 2020 electronically in an easy, fast, safe, and practical way without the need for face-to-face interviews to register families and individuals in the country. The new application is user-friendly, whether in terms of the practical design of the user interface or the quick link between it and the official PSA website and the data published thereon. Moreover, the application is available in both Arabic and English versions. The application is completely related to PSA statistical work, as it contains various periodic data issued by the statistical departments in PSA in terms of indicators, figures, and survey results. The application allows to visit and use a large amount of such data without the need to be connected to the Internet. In addition, it is easy to conduct statistical comparisons for the selected topics over several years. It also has the ability to share many data through social media and e-mailing platforms, as well as sending them to others through state-of-the-art means of communication. The Qatar Statistics application displays statistical data in a smooth, non-traditional interactive way, such as foreign trade statistics and the data of a comprehensive set of Qatar maps. It allows users at any time to directly contact and communicate with PSA, in case they have any inquiry or data request. Furthermore, the application sends alerts to users when data is updated or new data is issued, which makes it interactive. It provides an insight of all the major statistics of Qatar. The application has the functionality to display monthly statistics along with statistical charts. It also enables users to see different new publications and news regarding monthly statistics. The users can follow regular updates to get the latest demographic, economic, social, and environmental statistics. Qatar Statistics app is important in terms of enabling users to get more engaged with Qatari society. It helps users to increase the knowledge about the country. Currently, we have around 10,000-12,000 downloads of the application, of which 88% is from Qatar. The response rate of the application is positive overall, and the initial response rate was quite high. With the regularly updated version, the response rate is moving upward.

As Qatar's history reaches a landmark with the hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022, how would you assess the importance of having a well-developed statistical system, and which role will it play in maintaining Qatar's economic momentum in the aftermath of the event?

The importance of a well-developed statistical system emerges from the need to respond to new national development priorities arising from the changing national and international development priorities as well as the implementation of Qatar National Vision 2030 to transform Qatar into an advanced society capable of achieving sustainable development by 2030. The potential sources of data available for statistics are expanding with new technology and new means of harnessing big data and other non-traditional data sources. While the supply side of statistics envisages technological changes that may enable leapfrogging into the new data age, the demand side has also changed with the global agreement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which require many indicators to monitor their progress. As part of this new context and in order to upscale the capacity development in statistics, PSA has documented various assessment criteria to be used in identifying and selecting appropriate statistical tools that fit the statistical needs and requirements. This will permit our well-developed statistical system to play its crucial role in providing timely and usable data. As a matter of fact, it is essential for setting priorities, making informed choices and implementing better policies for sustainable development. In this context, PSA has explored the opportunities and the factors that enable it to face the challenges in the use of big data and other new data sources. We have set the basic conditions for building a statistical system capable of supporting and sustaining the economic growth of the State of Qatar. In terms of the role the statistical system play in the economic momentum of the State of Qatar in the aftermath of the event, Qatar's economy is achieving high growth rates with continued growth in exports and strong economic performance. We should note the high contribution of the non-oil sector to the GDP, driven by increased investment, which indicates progress in the process of economic diversification and the continued development of infrastructure within the framework of an ambitious program to be implemented as a part of Qatar National Vision 2030. There is no doubt the role our developed statistical system plays in supporting the economic momentum of the State of Qatar will be crucial in the future. We have taken priority steps for the statistics system to play its role in the process of the economic development. These priority steps serve as guidance for the Planning and Statistics Authority and decision makers: embrace the data revolution by using new sources of data, adopting innovative methods to produce and use statistics, and forging partnerships with other data producer and user communities; strengthen the traditional methods of data collection—including censuses, surveys, and administrative records—to become more efficient by using new technologies and methods; support open data policies and the use of non-traditional data sources, including through legal and regulatory reform; promote the dissemination of statistical data and programs to stimulate the use of statistics and enhance cooperation with active users of statistical data; identify the needs of the national statistical system and the resources available to address those needs; and address deficits in the production and use of statistics in strategic plans, data compacts, and other joint agreements with providers of development co-operation and international agencies through practical steps.

What are PSA's priorities for 2022?

PSA realizes that in order to successfully set the 2022 National Agenda, it must employ innovative and collaborative thinking free from rigid and dated stereotypes. For this reason, PSA will continue its work with its strategic partners in the public and private sectors to set the roadmap for the next phase of the national planning by adopting a pragmatic, flexible, and comprehensive approach, with the importance of taking lessons learned from its previous experiences, specifically issues related to the implementation of its Second National Development Strategy (2018-2022) and the prompt changes that resulted from the global challenges. The identification of PSA priorities must be accompanied by a human resource development, mainly in the field of planning, follow-up, evaluation, and capacity-building in statistical fields. This focus will contribute to support the sustainability of national strategic goals and reduce the waste of efforts and resources. In the same context, it is important to mention that setting the 2022 national development priorities will be aligned with QNV 2030, based on the following considerations: His Highness the Emir's speech at the opening of the 50th session of the Shura Council stressed the importance of considering the progress already made towards the second NDS, specifically the progress related to workforce efficiency, economic diversification and strengthening the capabilities of the private sector. In addition to this emphasis on preserving the gains achieved in the fields of health and education, other key areas were discussed, such as responsible citizenship and the roles of the media and the family. In this regard, I would like to mention that with the imminent expiration of the second NDS, the results of the periodic follow-up reports have proven that there has been a number of achievements and gains by the efforts of the authorities concerned, and of course, by both citizens and residents in the State of Qatar. These gains are manifested for instance in an advanced infrastructure, the prosperity of the Qatari economy, which is not due to the abundance of hydrocarbon resources; rather, to the existence of an efficient administrative system, and political stability. The second is the use of analytics will play a large role in drafting the 2022 priorities. The key reports that will be utilized accordingly include: (i) social and economic forecasts provided by the PSA; (ii) conclusions drawn from macroeconomic indicators and possible scenarios; and (iii) global reports on world economies for 2021-2022 issued by research centers and regional and international banks. These analytics will help provide a solid base of knowledge on which future planning can be based. Next, PSA is committed to accomplishing the remaining development goals before 2030. It will achieve this by aligning the Sustainable Development Goals 2030 with the third NDS 2022-2027. In this regard, the voluntary national review of the State of Qatar, which was conducted by PSA and the relevant authorities in 2021, will primarily contribute to identifying the imperative issues that face the achievement of the SDGs, specifically those caused by COVID-19. Finally, the transition to a knowledge-based economy requires a solid foundation of thorough research combined with cutting-edge innovation. As Qatar is in the midst of its economic and urban renaissance, thus, PSA, in coordination with relevant authorities, will intensify its efforts to support this evolution, in order to achieve Qatar National Vision 2030.

ADVERTISEMENT