Deputy director of the Information and Financial Statistics Department at the Ministry of Finance Pham Cong Minh spoke with Hai Quan (Customs) newspaper about the need for a national financial database.
What are the essential requirements for developing a financial database that could enable better analysis and projections for policy and finance matters?
In my opinion, a good financial database must be able to support the government's three main activities: policy planning and adjustments; administration and management.
If this is done in line with the Party and Government's guidelines, it will help us to analyse and evaluate the impact of national programmes and make accurate projections.
To do this, it is necessary to collect, organise and categorise the data in accordance with our needs. Relevant information must be included in the data to help users retrieve and use it easily.
Additionally, all the data must be relevant to the content; come from a reliable source; and be compatible with IT and technical standards.
Statistical processes are normally divided into three basic stages: data collection; processing; and analysis, evaluation and commentary. In each stage, a standard operational procedure is essential for IT application.
What are the vital points that the financial sector should focus on when developing its database?
The first thing they have to do is to conduct a survey on what information they need to avoid "deadweight" information in the system.
Additionally, the information must be available and meet the requirements of the financial sector and other sectors that may need it.
A good database and reliable data is very important for analytical work. Of course, the database must be up dated regularly and be easily accessible for users anywhere with an internet connection.
Another important factor I want to list here is the information security and safety. Distorted information is can negatively affect predictions and lead to poor decision making, which would be disasterous for the economy.
Fast information technology development is important, but we cannot neglect good database design and three important concerns: security (against virus, espionage and hacking); contingencies (for natural disasters, power blackouts and information storage); and information safety.
These three elements are paramount for each phase of data management: collection, processing and publication.
Regarding the technical issue, it's important to have a big database server to avoid congestion and support multiple users. In my opinion, we should limit data access directly from the server.
In your opinion, in order to have a good and reliable database what conditions do we need to meet?
Quite a lot of work needs to be done. The first thing we have to do is to set up an organisational system, analytical tools, a reliable mechanism for making financial projections and of course, build up a pool of IT experts.
Once the national targets have been defined, they will become the basic compass for government agencies to develop their policies and administrative mechanisms.
Along with that, a criteria for information reports will be set up. At this stage, the database will play a key role in helping policy makers and management officials to provide good analysis and make good decisions.
It will also help functional agencies to perform their roles more efficiently. — VNS