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Prime Minister, Bruce Golding, has commended the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN), on the launch of the Revised System of National Accounts and the Jamaica Industrial Classification 2005, noting that they provide vital statistical data, necessary to access where the country is going in order to set targets and to measure performance against those targets.
Speaking at the launch this morning (Oct 14), at the Knutsford Court Hotel in Kingston, Mr. Golding said vital statistical data being provided by STATIN has become increasingly important in influencing and informing the country, particularly because economies have to align themselves with the wider global economy.
“It is important that if we are preparing statistics, we have to ensure accuracy of the data and it must be presented in a form that is useful, not just for research and academic purposes, but to help make decisions in formulating policies”, Mr. Golding said.
He said economies are dynamic and constantly in transition and undergoing structural changes. However, he noted that “While we are making those changes, we must maintain some connectivity to the past, so that we can better assess how we have done and how we intend to proceed in the future. We can’t ‘Jamaicanise’ our statistics too much. We have to maintain internationally recognised standards”.
Mr. Golding said while he was pleased with the progress made in terms of measuring the real impact of various sectors of the economy, there are still some challenges to be overcome. “So much of our economic activity relates to the delivery of services but being able to measure this sector has been a challenge”, Mr. Golding noted .
He cited tourism, which is important to the economy, as one of the sectors that presented a challenge in terms of being able to see its real economic performance, as well as the area of transportation, which he said needed to be given special treatment.
Another sector, he said, was the entertainment industry, which is growing and evolving rapidly and which is assuming a particular kind of structure. He said this is a major area of economic activity that must be examined in order to determine its real impact on the economy and he has called on STATIN to look into this area.
Mr. Golding said there was also the challenge of the informal sector. He said various figures have been presented that indicate that this sector is about 40% of the economy but he questioned how much of that 40% is being captured in the data being collated. He said this was another area of challenge that STATIN needs to capture to find ways to measure, not necessarily for an enforcement objective, but to be able to determine with accuracy, how much of it interfaces with the formal economy.
The National Accounts System, incorporates a wide range of information about the Jamaican Economy and includes a large number of economic transactions carried out by a large number of individuals. The Jamaica Industrial Classification (JIC) 2005, is a national classification of industrial activity and is modelled off the United Nations International Standard Industrial classification.