Successful economies have increasingly recognised the importance of improving access to data collected by governments. Accurate, timely and easily accessible data helps private sector growth and results in improved delivery by government.
Sri Lanka Customs is the key government agency that collects trade data. Access to timely trade data is vital for firms engaging in international trade to make sound business decisions. It is also the basis on which countries should be formulating their trade policies and assessing their impact.
This seminar presented as a case study focusing on the data dissemination practice of Sri Lanka Customs. The case study demonstrated how restrictive practices by government agencies and the incentive structures in place can hinder timely access to data. As a result, the growth and development of the private and public sectors are undermined. Data is collected using public funds, but restrictive practices prevent it from translating into public benefit.