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The Need for Strategic Planning in the Development of National Accounts and Related Basic Statistics in Sierra Leone. By Mwaluma Andrew Bryma Gegbe Senior.

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Presentation on theme: "The Need for Strategic Planning in the Development of National Accounts and Related Basic Statistics in Sierra Leone. By Mwaluma Andrew Bryma Gegbe Senior."— Presentation transcript:

1 The Need for Strategic Planning in the Development of National Accounts and Related Basic Statistics in Sierra Leone. By Mwaluma Andrew Bryma Gegbe Senior Statistician, National Accounts Statistics Statistics Sierra Leone

2 2 Content 1: Background 2: Problems of National Accounts Compilation Lack of Coordination of Statistical Production and poor data sources Unreliable Data on Agricultural Production The Informal Nature of the Economy Outdated Business Registers Financial and Human Resources Available to NSO are Inadequate 3: The Need for Strategic Planning 4: Conclusion

3 3 1. Background Within the framework of the integration process, the Authority of Heads of States and Governments of the Economic Community of West African States at their session held in Lome in December 1999, decided to put in place the multilateral surveillance mechanism which set out the convergence criteria for monetary and economic union. Because some of the criteria are directly related to Gross Domestic Product (GDP); ECOWAS contracted AFRISTAT to carry out an assessment of the status of Gross Domestic Product (GDP). The mission reported that: – Most member countries do not have an updated business register for statistical sampling, –data collection programs were inadequate and infrequent, –response rates were low, –the informal sector was inadequately covered –computer hardware and software and other information technology facilities were insufficient or completely lacking. –And the statistical system was largely uncoordinated.

4 4 2. Problems of National Accounts Compilation - Introduction The challenges facing national accountants in Sierra Leone are similar to those faced by their counterparts elsewhere in the sub-region even-though they vary in magnitude. In Sierra Leone, there was complete breakdown in the statistical system during the war and this affected the national accounts compilation adversely. The war caused the destruction of most infrastructures and the drain of the technical experts like national accountants. At the moment, the key problems compilers are now facing are:

5 5 Lack of Coordination of Statistical Production and poor data sources The lack of coordination between institutions, aimed at ensuring that they do not work at cross- purposes, lead to duplications of efforts and waste of money and human resources. Most administrative sources of data are fragmented, varied in format and content and therefore unreliable. The impact is that the data is not readily available in standard format on request, which affects the quality of the national accounts.

6 6 Unreliable Data on Agricultural Production Agriculture is estimated to contribute about 48 per cent to GDP and employs about 67 per cent of the labour force Thus the exhaustiveness of the national accounts to a large extent depends on the accuracy of agriculture data. –For instance, the crop data varies depending the user; livestock data is only given in total head counts and not classified. A regular system for the estimation of agricultural production by means of censuses and surveys is absent, which undermines the quality of the national account estimates like Gross Fixed Capital Formation in Livestock and Forestry.

7 7 The Informal Nature of the Economy The Sierra Leone economy is characterized by large informal sector activities. Measuring the informal sector is therefore important to improve on the exhaustiveness of the national accounts This informal nature of the economy accounts greatly to the poor responses to surveys conducted because of lack of proper documentation of business activities. The informal activities carried-out by households are estimated using the Sierra Leone Integrated Household Survey (SLIHS) conducted in 2003/4 Additionally, a significant proportion of the economy consists of underground activities and illegal activities which are very difficult to measure and are therefore absent in the National Accounts of Sierra Leone.

8 8 Outdated Business Registers A Business Register that contains all units in the population should have all the data that is useful for stratification and sample selection. In Sierra Leone, the starting point for the construction of the Business Register was the Census of Business Establishments conducted in The response was poor and some of the necessary fields of the questionnaire that would have been useful for national accounts purposes were left blank.

9 9 Financial and Human Resources Available to SSL are Inadequate. Generally, Policy makers in governments are not aware of the importance of statistics in decision making. The Sierra Leone government while recognising the importance of statistics is preoccupied with issues relating directly to the reduction of poverty in the face of tight budget constraints; hence non-poverty related activities are given less priority. Unlike the social statistics data collection, which is readily funded by donors, National Accounts activities are funded by government The National Accountant is therefore faced with an up-hill task of estimating aggregates from a survey with limited coverage. Low staff salaries and lack of motivation lead to a gradual depletion of trained and qualified statisticians in National Accounts especially when there is no extra earning.

10 10 Lack of information technology facilities In Sierra Leone, there is unavailability of appropriate software like ERETES and the inability of SSL staff to use such specialized software affects the accuracy of the estimates. We still use basic Microsoft Excel to compute GDP aggregates which increases the possibility of errors.

11 11 3. The Need for Strategic Planning The Government in conjunction with the World Bank and ICP Africa supported the National Strategy for the Development of Statistics (NSDS) approach as the main instrument for the development of Statistics. The main objective of the strategic plan is to develop an integrated, harmonised, coordinated and coherent statistical system which covers all data producing agencies in the country with Statistics Sierra Leone as the coordinating agency.

12 12 3. The Need for Strategic Planning continued To ensure stakeholder ownership and encourage political commitment, the strategic planning document was put in place by the NSDS team in consultation with SSL staff, other producers of statistics in the country, government departments, civil societies and parliament. Within the NSDS framework we have developed an institutional coordinating arrangement and joint work plan for the collection and dissemination of data all over the country.

13 13 4: Conclusion The NSDS document was adopted early this year. Additional statisticians have now been recruited for key ministries, departments and agencies to coordinate the statistical activities in these institutions. There is now a general consensus by data producers and users in Sierra Leone on the need to adopt the National Strategies for the Development of Statistics as the way forward for solving the problems of statistical production and dissemination including the production of reliable GDP.

14 14 Thank you for your attention


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