JIS News

The Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) has launched the 2004 Household Expenditure Survey and has appealed to householders to cooperate with the interviewers, who will be in the field collecting data between May and October of this year.
The survey will determine the items to be selected for the new Consumer Price Index (CPI), which will be launched in June of 2005. The CPI is one of the main economic indicators, which measures change in the purchasing power of money; change in consumption habits arising from availability of a new range of consumer goods and services; and change in consumer tastes and preferences. It is closely monitored by economic planners, policy makers, the business community and labour unions.
STATIN will be selecting 12,500 householders for the survey and data will be collected on over 400 items of expenditure. The householders will be asked to save receipts or record purchases from grocery stores, department stores, restaurants and the market, as well as for medical expenses and transportation and entertainment.
Sonia Jackson, Director General of STATIN, speaking at the launch held at the offices of the Ministry of Finance and Planning, said that over the years, the responses to requests for data has been on the decline and an analysis of the causes revealed that among other things, there was a lack of confidence in STATIN to retain and use the date for statistical purposes only.
She assured that in more than 60 years of operation, there had been no breach of confidence in data collected by the Institute and “we do not expect to have any in the future. Each member of the staff is required to sign a confidentiality agreement and there are penalties under the law for breaches”.
In addition, Mrs. Jackson said that a public education programme would be launched, which would include public discussions on the importance of the survey and the work of the Institute. She invited the public to make submissions “on the format of information that you would like us to provide for you as we seek to serve you better”.
Meanwhile, Finance and Planning Minister, Dr. Omar Davies noted that the survey was timely and overdue as there have been significant changes in expenditure and a new range of consumer goods and services such as those in the telecommunications sector. He expressed his appreciation for the work of the Institute, noting that the data collected was critical in the planning process and determining the real status of the country.

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