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17.08.2005 General News

Data collection crucial to devt - Governor

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Accra, Aug 17, GNA - Dr Paul Acquah, Governor of Bank of Ghana, on Wednesday said despite the significance of accuracy and timeliness of data to national development, official institutions that were responsible for data collection had not received the prime support in terms of resources.

"Accurate and timely data would allow us to formulate sound policies, effectively compare our progress over time and space and also set benchmarks for measuring progress in the future," he said. Dr Acquah said this at a day's workshop on the General Data Dissemination Systems (GDDS).

Organized by the Ghana Statistical Service (GSS), the workshop basically sought to inform stakeholders on the subscription by the GSS to the General Data Dissemination System of the International Monetary Fund.

He described Ghana's membership in the "GDDS platform" as a significant development and said the GDDS required a good set of principles for routine data dissemination.

Dr Acquah said while serving as a yardstick by which Ghana could judge its performance in the field of statistics, adherence to guidelines of the GDDS would also enhance the usefulness of the data and also provide users with valuable information to plan their work and programmes. He said collaboration with other statistical providers and the fostering of a network among institutions was also one key advantage of the GDDS platform.

The Governor noted that it was important that the data generation process was well understood to ensure appropriate interpretations adding economic statistics were often only an approximation of the underlying reality.

Dr Acquah said: "Even where the data can be perfectly measured there was often discrepancy between the economic concept that we would want to measure and the real phenomenon that the statistics attempts to measure."

He said: "The only way to measure our short to medium term macro-economic performance was to accurately measure trends in monetary aggregates; balance of payments; debt sustainability and fiscal performance in addition to Gross Domestic Product and Inflation." Dr Acquah said statistics were necessary to monitor these trends closely and accurately because of the economic costs that could accrue from imbalances and deviations of "these indicators from sustainable levels".

He stressed the need for proper funding and adequate re-sourcing of official institutions in charge of generating data, not only to ensure that disseminated data were accurate and reliable but also to ensure that they were current.

The Governor said improving upon the reliability of data enhanced the chances to attract foreign direct investment as it also laid bare the advantages and disadvantages associated with investment decisions.

"In a globally interdependent world, absence of data closes the door to any access to financing from the international world," he said. He said adhering to the GDDS should provide an impetus to transform the country's institutions charged with the statutory responsibility to generate statistics to enable them to match up to international standards.

Dr Grace Bediako, Government Statistician, called on stakeholders to promote high standards in data production and dissemination; support efforts to monitor and ensure that the information was up to date; contribute to the preparation and implementation of a plan for improving both the access and quality of data.

Ghana has begun participating in the International Monetary Fund's (IMF) General Data Dissemination System (GDDS), which was established in 1997 to provide a framework to assist IMF member countries to develop their statistical systems. At present, 84 countries are participating in the GDDS. 17 Aug 05