Guyana lagging in release of national statistics – IMF Report

first_imgWhen it comes to the timely release of statistics, the recently-released International Monetary Fund (IMF) Country Report on Guyana has highlighted and has advised authorities in Guyana to step up their game and make available in a timely manner to the public, data on the labour markets, gender and poverty ratios.The report, released earlier this month, stated that although data provided to the IMF is generally sufficient for surveillance purposes, the timeliness, reliability, and coverage of “selected” data can be improved.It highlighted that selected data are only available upon request or during missions.The Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre (CARTAC) missions have provided technical assistance on national accounts, which helped strengthen production-side Gross Domestic Product (GDP) compilation, the rebasing of national accounts and medium-term projections. Further work could entail compilation of expenditure-side GDP and quarterly GDP, according to the IMF.“Monetary statistics, exchange rates, interest rates, and financial prudential indicators are accessible with a lag and though specific areas of data have received technical assistance, some constraints remain in the compilation and dissemination of data for certain sectors,” the Fund observed.The report continued that even though the compilation of national accounts has been fortified in the last decades, limitations are evident in certain areas, including the Bureau of Statistics which could increase the coverage of surveys, particularly with respect to the services sector.It added that since January 2010, the agency has adopted a new household income and expenditure survey and has expanded the basket of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) index and revised its weights; however, the coverage of the CPI could be further broadened to reveal price movements in areas other than Georgetown.In 2014, a mission from CARTAC observed data gaps and made recommendations for improvements, including the development of a register of large public and private enterprises that could be requested to provide data on their transactions and positions with nonresidents; improving data collection and compilation with regards to services; inclusion of investment income from reserve assets; clarifying the classification of income accounts to ensure that they occur between residents and nonresidents; properly recording debt forgiveness; and surveying direct investment enterprises.The mission initiated the release of quarterly current and capital accounts, according to the sixth edition of the Balance of Payments and International Investment Position Manual (BPM6) for the period March 2011 to September 2013. The mission also initiated the production of experimental (partial) International Investment Position (IIP) statistics from the information that is available on Government debt, reserve assets of the central bank, and Marginal Standing Facility (MSF)It has also developed an action plan for the implementation of balance of payments and IIP surveys and for the development of balance of payments and IIP statements.Technical assistanceThe report indicated that the Bank of Guyana (BoG) does not report the IIP because it lacks the capacity to compile such statistics, thus this is one of the priority areas identified for technical assistance from CARTAC.Other areas for technical assistance delivered in 2014-15 focused on building capacity in the areas of internal audit, tax administration, revenue forecasting, tariff classification of goods using the Harmonised System, customs valuation, debt management and medium-term fiscal projections.Past technical assistance missions have found that there is room to develop the “definition and treatment of one-off nontax revenues in medium term projections”.According to the country report, IMF authorities have planned to continue to work on improving tax administration and to build a framework for managing mineral revenues based on international best practices.“The authorities have expressed interest in technical assistance on developing a domestic long-term bond market,” the report said.However, the report indicated that not everything is doom and gloom for the statistics sector since the BoG has made significant progress in improving the quality of monetary statistics, specially the institutional coverage.The monetary statistics currently include the BoG, commercial banks, the New Building Society, and trust companies, and other financial corporations (finance companies, life insurance, companies, non-life insurance companies, pension funds, and asset management companies).The IMF stated that the BoG’s monetary statistics provide data for publication in the International Financial Statistics Supplement, based on standardised report forms while the bank publishes financial prudential indicators in its quarterly report and on its website on a regular basis.The issue of the timely release of statistics and reports has always been a old problem; presently Guyana is without an unemployment rate for over a decade.Guyana has always been using proxies – data from the national population census and the households budget surveys – to determine its unemployment rate. The country has also been without a labour force survey for almost a decade.last_img

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