Dar for devising unified statistical data system

Finance Minister Ishaq Dar chairs a meeting regarding coordination of national statistical data, at the Ministry of Finance. app

ISLAMABAD: All the data producing bodies including Finance Division, Economic Affairs Division, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) and other regulatory bodies should coordinate with each other to have a consensus on a single verified statistical data system.

Finance Minister Senator Ishaq Dar advising to conduct regular meetings to monitor and review whole process of data collection and verification gave directions while chairing a meeting of data producers regarding coordination of statistical data at the Finance Ministry on Monday.

He talked about the inconsistency and discrepancies of statistical data and lack of coordination among the data producing institutions of the federal government. Furthermore he said due to this incongruity in the data many institutions along with the international donor agencies did not get to collect reliable and verified data, used for various purposes.

He advised these institutions to conduct regular meetings among themselves to monitor and review the whole process of data collection and verification.

Our government has already decided to issue quarterly data instead of publishing yearly data. He informed participants of the meeting during third review, International Monetary Fund agreed to revise their Gross Domestic Products growth and inflation figures for Pakistan and there was convergence that growth was moving up and inflation remained in single digit.

Now we have to make sure reliable and transparent data was available throughout the country.

Chairman PBS Asif Bajwa emphasised on the credibility of the statistical data. Former Governor of State Bank of Pakistan Ishrat Hussain accentuated upon the requirement of primary producers of statistical data, as all the data available was of secondary nature.

Meanwhile, emphasising on the role of PBS as a focal point for the verification of data, Dar has asked the Bureau to include data from small markets and weekly bazaars to present a broader picture of the statistical record.

Chairing 6th meeting of the Governing Council of PBS he said the government fully supported the idea of conducting a timely census but practicalities and security situation of the country should be taken into account before taking the important decision in consultation with the provinces.

Dar said the first year of the government passed on in fire fighting to correct the mistakes already committed by the previous administrators of the country and now the time has come to build and improve the economy and revive the confidence of people in the government.

PBS should include data from small markets and weekly bazaars to present a broader picture of the statistical record. He directed the Bureau to make seasonal adjustments in the data for presenting a clearer picture.

During course of the meeting he also made an observation in Pakistan different institutions use different figures for the same set of data collected through different means; this practice should be abandoned now.

All institutions should reconcile their figures and remove any discrepancies before making them public, he added. He emphasised on the role of PBS as a focal point for the verification of data.

He directed a committee should be formed to review the PBS Act and suggest amendments. The committee shall consist of four members i.e Additional Secretary Regulation Wing of Finance Division, one member from SECP and two members from the governing council of PBS. He said statisticians from the recognised and reputed educational institutions of the country should also be included in the council of PBS.

Dar directed PBS to make efforts to provide the data available to different users so research should be promoted in the country. Chief Statistician PBS Asif Bajwa gave a detailed briefing on the performance of PBS and explained the implementation status of the decisions taken in the 5th meeting of the Governing Council and proposed approval of the ‘Governing Council (Procedures and Conduct of Business) Rules 2014, which are drafted in consonance with the Act, 2011. Bajwa gave a detailed briefing to Dar on National Strategy for Development of Statistics, recruitment of functional members, budget proposals and the new initiatives taken by PBS.

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