Interview: Butti Ahmed Mohammed bin Butti Al Qubaisi

How does SCAD collate its information? What sources do you use, and do all government departments submit their own data?

BUTTI AHMED MOHAMMED BIN BUTTI AL QUBAISI: As the sole authority in Abu Dhabi responsible for statistical work, SCAD collects data, conducts censuses and surveys, and prepares and publishes official statistics in collaboration with other government entities. This role is crucial for consistency and efficiency in the emirate’s statistical system.

SCAD collects data from three main sources: censuses, sample surveys and administrative registers. For censuses and sample surveys, we use multimodal data collection methods, including personal visits, and computer-assisted telephone and web interviews. Administrative registers are normally kept in the custody of other government entities, over 50 of which have been identified as potential sourcing partners to be used in the compilation of official statistics. SCAD is developing strong ties with these entities in order to secure easy access to their administrative registers and assist these entities in upgrading the quality, maintenance and organisation of their own statistical units.

How is SCAD working with other branches of government to promote the interpretation and efficient use of the statistics being generated?

AL QUBAISI: SCAD has several initiatives in this respect. Foremost among these is strengthening relations with other government entities through signing memoranda of understanding (MoUs), service-level agreements, and organising technical meetings and workshops.

SCAD is also developing a special communication platform called the Statistical Information System for a number of government entities. Using a secured electronic link, this platform will allow the fast and reliable exchange of data and statistics.

Additionally, the Statistical Training Institute provides training to staff members from other government bodies to enhance the statistical culture within the emirate and to ensure the efficient use of those statistics.

SCAD now has an advisory committee that seeks to gain a better understanding of the uses for our statistics and to increase knowledge about what other areas may need to be covered. We also plan to start operations for an international advisory body to help us achieve the next step in development. The Centre is constantly monitoring the level of statistical awareness in Abu Dhabi and the level of satisfaction among users.

What plans does SCAD have for extending the breadth of statistical analysis?

AL QUBAISI: SCAD has identified two main areas of development. The first is ensuring that decision-makers receive not only statistics, but also specialised analyses, so that critical decisions are based on correctly inferred figures. The second is to continue improving the quality and breadth of statistical coverage by continuously updating official statistics and methodologies according to international standards. SCAD’s commitment to meeting user requirements will help improve the range, frequency, and quality of published data.

How is the Centre engaging with the private sector and potential investors in Abu Dhabi to ensure the relevance of the statistical analyses produced?

AL QUBAISI: SCAD’s outreach is not limited to the public sector, and it also targets private enterprises, both locally and internationally. One of the most important initiatives in this respect is SCAD’s participation in Hannover Messe, the world’s largest industrial fair. Our role in this event is to boost the confidence of potential investors by making available high-quality statistics.

SCAD engages with private establishments through its economic surveys. While the main aim of this exercise is to collect data from the different sectors, SCAD has established relationships with up to 5000 companies in some surveys. The Centre repeats this exercise on a quarterly or annual basis, depending on the type of survey. These surveys have proved effective in spreading statistical awareness amongst the private sector.