For the Record 

On reliability of government economic data

This article seeks to clarify some of the points raised in the newspaper article “Reliability of government economic data questioned” written by  Mr. Felipe F. Salvosa II  which came out in the 4 July 2007 issue of Business World.  We would not wish to comment on the theories and expectations as to how the economy should be performing; this article is written purely from the point of view of the compiler of the national accounts of the Philippines.

 Business World statement

“Calling on government statistical agencies to disclose how data on economic output is being generated, UP economist Felipe M. Medalla – National Economic and Development Authority chief during the Estrada administration – pointed to inconsistencies between the national accounts, or the estimates of GDP, and consumer and industry surveys by government statisticians.”

NSCB Clarification

 Business World statement

“There is little evidence to support claims the economy is being lifted by strong consumption growth, while surveys of industries seem to be translating to higher growth in the manufacturing component of GDP when the survey results  are positive but not vice-versa, he said”

“… there has been a “significant break” in the relationship between real manufacturing growth in the national accounts and the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) and the Volume of Production Index (VOPI) of the National Statistics Office, he also said ”

NSCB Clarification 

 Business World statement

“… there is no evidence of strong consumption growth aside from GDP data, he said, pointing out that in real terms, the link between the national accounts and the Family Income and Expenditure Survey (FIES) conducted every three years has weakened after 1997 and disappeared after 2000”.

NSCB Clarification

 Business World statement

“For government officials to now claim that growth is better than the Aquino administration 17 years ago would be inaccurate as present GDP data has been rendered incomparable to data from 10 or 5 years ago, Mr. Medalla added.”

NSCB Clarification

 Business World statement

“Another former Socioeconomic planning chief, Cielito F. Habito, said he agreed with Mr. Medalla’s findings, and that there’s a need to revisit the methodology of the national accounts.”

NSCB Clarification

 Business World statement

“One solution could be to allow the private sector to fund a non-profit think-tank like the National Bureau of Economic Research in the United States, which had produced its own estimates of economic outputs.”

NSCB Clarification:

The NSCB would like to thank Mr. Felipe F. Salvosa II and the Business World for their interest in statistics and for the challenges they have posed for the further improvement of the Philippine Statistical System in general and the National Statistical Coordination Board in particular. For inquiries, please contact Assistant Secretary-General Estrella V. Domingo or Director Raymundo J. Talento of the National Statistical Coordination Board at telephone numbered (632) 896-4665 and (632) 895-2425, or through e-mail addresses: ev.domingo@nscb.gov.ph and rj.talento@nscb.gov.ph, respectively.

 

1/ MB meetings conducted to discuss certain issues prior to the regular MB meeting

 

posted 20 July 2007.

 

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