For the Record 

On data revisions

This article seeks to clarify some of the points reported in the September 14, 2005 issue of Malaya entitled “NSCB says data revisions ordered by IMF.”

The news article

In a September 14 article, Malaya (page B-13) stated that:

“The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) yesterday said it had to revise various economic statistics to comply with International Monetary Fund (IMF) requirements.”

The facts

Dr. Virola stated in his Statistically Speaking article as posted in the NSCB website (http://www.nscb.gov.ph/headlines/StatsSpeak/091205_rav_revPolicy.asp) that “Not revising official statistics certainly cannot count among the best practices of a national statistical system. And to the credit of the Philippine Statistical System, even before the IMF got to pursue its advocacy for statistical offices to come up with revision policies, the NSCB thru Resolutions No. 8 Series of 1997 and No. 7 Series of 2005, approved policies for the revision of the national accounts and agricultural statistics, respectively. “

Also, Dr. Virola said that “In recognition of the need to revise statistics, manuals and guidelines on revisions have been published by the United Nations Statistics Division, the Eurostat (the statistical office of the European Union ) and the IMF. In fact, the IMF is currently preparing its recommendations on revision policies for the national accounts. It ought to be mentioned that the Philippines is one of the original subscribers to the Statistical Data Dissemination Standards or SDDS of the IMF. Subscription to the SDDS is limited to countries whose statistical systems are willing and able to abide by the IMF-recommended guidelines on the production and generation of a number of important statistics, such as the national accounts, prices, balance of payments and labor force statistics, among others.”

Further, he stated that “And no matter what we think of the IMF, it must be admitted that these recommendations are essentially sound and are meant to improve statistical practices all over the world. If a country's statistical system cannot cope with the IMF recommendations (I never liked to refer to them as IMF requirements!) subscription is not accepted or recognized even if the country wishes to subscribe. True to the IMF character, unfortunately, the IMF has used subscription to the SDDS as a precondition to access to the international financial market!”

The Statistically Speaking article on “REVISION OF OFFICIAL STATISTICS – IS IT CHEATING?” was written by Dr. Romulo A. Virola, Secretary General of the National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) to address concerns which were raised not only about the revision of foreign trade statistics but also about government statistics in general.

It is quite clear from the relevant paragraphs quoted above from the article of Dr. Virola that it is incorrect to say that the “NSCB says data revisions ordered by IMF” or “The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) yesterday said it had to revise various economic statistics to comply with International Monetary Fund (IMF) requirements.”

The NSCB would like to thank Malaya and other newspapers for their interest in statistics and would appreciate an objective and accurate reporting on the products and services of the Philippine Statistical System (PSS).

 

For inquiries please contact OIC-Director Candido J. Astrologo, Jr. of the National Statistical Information Center (NSIC) at telephone numbered (632) 890-8456 or at email address cj.astrologo@nscb.gov.ph.

 

Posted 21 September 2005

 

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