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Country Profile of Lesotho

Main statistical agency
Main statistical agency name
Bureau of Statistics (BoS)
Web address
Position in the government
The Department is headed by the Director who is administratively responsible to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Finance and Development Planning.
Organizational structure and finance
The BoS is divided into 9 divisions and 3 units that report directly to the Director. The divisions are: Agriculture Statistics; Environment & Food Security; Population Statistics; Socio-economic statistics; National Accounts & Enterprise Statistics; Foreign Trade & Prices Statistics; Survey Methodology & Cartography; Field Organisation; and ICT. The three units directly under the Director are: Office of the Director; Dissemination & production; and Corporate Services. The staff of the Bureau of Statistics has grown from about 230 as of 1992 to about 291 in 2010.
Multi-annual or annual work program
BOS has annual work program which will be posted on the website of BOS. There is also a summary work programme for the coming three years.
Main duties
According to the Statistics Act the Bureau shall be the principal data collecting, processing, analyzing and dissemination agency responsible for co-coordinating, monitoring and supervising the National Statistical System, including matters specified in the above paragraph.

The BOS in carrying out its functions in the above paragraph shall be responsible for the formulation of policies, strategies and programme activities for the development and supervision of the National Statistical System by:

- Providing central statistical information services;

- Establishing, harmonizing and standardizing definitions, classifications and statistical methods used in the production and dissemination of official statistics to ensure uniformity in quality, adequacy of coverage and reliability of statistical information;

- Promoting the production and dissemination of official statistics on regional and small areas of relevance for the purposes of this Act, as well as providing guidance and training to other users and producers of statistics;

- Promoting and developing statistical training in collaboration with the National University of Lesotho (NUL) and other relevant educational institutions;

- Promoting corporation, coordination and rationalization among users and providers of statistics at central and local levels so as to avoid duplication of effort and ensure optimal utilization of scares resources;

- Promoting and being focal point of cooperation with statistics users and providers at national and international level;

- Conducting research in statistical methods and developing standards.

- Based on the above BOS as per the Act can as part of its responsibilities and functions collect statistics from various sources and publish various types of statistics as outlined below:

- Review all initiatives to collect data at the national and local government levels and approve instruments developed for data collection including census frames, registers, sample designs and questionnaires;

- Establish registers for households and undertakings;

- Collect, compile, analyze and publish or otherwise disseminate economic, social, demographic and environmental statistics;

- Conduct decennial population, housing and agricultural census and surveys as prioritized and planned;

- Collect and publish routine administrative statistics;

- Produce and publish a range of statistical information as may be prescribed in Regulations made under this Act;

- Organize and maintain a central statistical library of statistical reports, publications, compact disc-read only memory (CD-ROMS) and collection of foreign national and international statistics;

- Build a national data bank that is regularly updated;

- Guide and coordinate local government statistical services;

- Establish regional offices to facilitate collection of information and other operations in the field of official statistics in accordance with the government policy of decentralization;

- Do all things necessary and conducive to the objective of the Bureau under this Act.

The definitions, classifications, and statistical methods referred to in the Act shall be in accordance with those applied internationally. Offences and penalties are stipulated in the Act for both the employees of BOS and respondents. The interviewers giving a few examples, may ask improper or offensive questions or knowingly make false return or compile for issue any false statistics or information are liable to a fine of not less than M2000 and not exceeding M10, 000 or imprisonment for a period not less than one year and no exceeding five years or both. For the respondents who by one way or the other refuses to complete and supply, within such time as may be specified for the purpose, the required particulars in any return form or other document left or sent to that person commits crime and is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment. The employees of BOS upon appointment as employees of BOS must take an oath of secrecy not disclose any information so administered to them during their carrying their duties as assigned to them by the Director of BOS. The Act is available at BOS upon request to the contact persons. The statistics to be collected as outlined in the Act cover all sectors: development planning, trade, agriculture, natural resources, finance, communications, sports and culture, employment, health, local government, education, environment, tourism, public administration, non-governmental organizations and others as may be approved by NSC.

Brief history and other relevant background information
Brief history and other relevant background information
The little available information indicates that Bureau of Statistics (BOS) grew out of a statistical unit of the Ministry of Agriculture around 1964. However, there is an indication that statistical activities in the fields of agriculture and population started long before the birth of the BOS. Lesotho has had decennial censuses of agriculture from 1949 and regular population censuses as far back as 1875. Activities in general statistics surfaced in 1965 when the statistics act of 1965 was passed. This act provides for collection, analysis and dissemination of statistical data and does not make provision for the coordination of statistical activities. It has, however, been informally accepted that BOS is performing that role even without the legal backing. Since that time plans were then afoot to provide that legal backing.

In 1982, the structure of the BOS included a deputy director who, besides heading the field operation division, oversaw the division and was responsible to the director of statistics. The substantive divisions then were: Trade and Economic statistics, Demography and Social statistics, Data processing. Later on changes were made to accommodate a division responsible for field operation and support services. The position of Deputy Director was re-designated Chief Statistician responsible for the new division of Agricultural Statistics

Regarding personnel, the available information reveal that at the formation of the Bureau of Statistics there was one Director and two Statisticians and in 1967, two years later, the establishment stood at one Director, one Deputy Director, three statistician and four posts of Statistical Officer of which three were filled. During this era, qualified personnel were in short supply and there was inadequate funding to achieve the staff component which would adequately carry out the statistical undertakings enumerated in the Statistics Act 1965. This act has been replaced by the new Bureau of Statistics Act of 2001.

In 1980, the Data Processing Division came into existence thus ushering in a new occupational group within the statistical service. It is worth mentioning that the group that was ushered into the statistical service did not come from outside, existing staff was retrained.

BOS was recently restructured and got the structure as described above.

Legal basis
Legal basis
The existing Bureau of Statistics (BOS) within the Government of Lesotho is operating under new Lesotho Bureau of Statistics Act 2001. As the Act states, BOS shall be deemed to be established under this Act, and it shall be responsible for all matters relating to official statistics, and shall also ensure that official statistics are produced in an objective, scientific and unbiased manner.

Other producers of official statistics
Other producers of official statistics
The major ones are Central Bank of Lesotho, Ministry of Education, Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Ministry of Local Government, Ministry of Labour and Employment, Ministry of Agriculture and Foods Security etc.

Statistical advisory bodies
Statistical advisory bodies
The Statistics Act also prescribes the formation of a National Statistical Council (NSC) to advise the Minister responsible for statistical policies and programmes is needed. The NSC shall also advise BOS on statistical priorities monitor and evaluate work of the Bureau and establish subject matter specialist committees. The NSC was established in 2009.

Concerning the relationship with other agencies under the Act the Director has to consult and cooperate with other lead agencies having duties related to, or having aims or objectives related to those of Bureau.

Data collection
Most recent population census
9-23 April 2006
Data confidentiality
The confidentiality of data is addressed as follows: no individual return or part thereof made for the purpose of this Act; no answer given to any question put for the purpose of this Act; no report, abstract or document, containing any particulars in such return or answer and so arranged as to render possible identification of those particulars with any person, business or undertaking; and no data set or part thereof stored in a computer or any other electronic media shall be published, admitted in evidence, or shown to any person not employed in the execution of a duty under this Act except with the written consent of the person making the return or giving the answer, or, in the case of a business or undertaking, from the person having control, management or superintendence of the business or undertaking.

Data dissemination
Release calendar (existence, when and how published)
All statistical publications are released at the BOS website and are available for free downloading. In addition, hard copies are available from the BOS library. A release schedule is posted on the website
Main publications
The main publications are as follows:
Transport and Communication Statistics
Wholesale and Retail Trade Statistics
Consumer Price Index
Foreign Trade Statistics
Business Register Statistics
National Accounts Statistics
Manufacturing Sector Statistics
Tourism Statistics
Crime Statistics
Correctional Service Statistics
Education Statistics
Gender Statistics
Census Analytical report
Agricultural Statistics (Crops Statistics, Livestock Statistics, Livestock Statistics, Availability and Utilization of Cereals Statistics)
Agricultural Situation Report
Health Statistics
Vital Registration Statistics (Births and Deaths Statistics, Marriage and Divorces Statistics)
Statistical Year Book
Environment Statistics
Community Level Data

Household Surveys Reports: Continuous Multi-purpose Survey, Household Budget Survey, Agricultural census, Labour Force Survey, Multiple Indicators Survey, Lesotho Demographic Survey, Lesotho Reproductive Health Survey, Lesotho Demographic, Health Survey Demographic Survey.

Border Post Survey Report: Foreign Trade Survey
Languages of main publications
How are data disseminated (Paper, CD Rom, Website, online databases, databanks)?
Website, Reports and dissemination Workshops
Availability of microdata for research purposes
BOS may release unit records on computer media, with identifiers removed if the unit records so released are to be used for genuine research purposes. The recipient of the records must make a written undertaking that the records shall not be released to any other person without the written consent of the Director.

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