Terkper commits to improve macroeconomic data

Finance and Economic Planning Minister Seth Terkper has expressed government’s commitment to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other donor partners to enhance its ability to churn out reliable macroeconomic data and derive the most out of that data.

Speaking at the IMF Conference on Enhanced Data for Better Macro Policies opening yesterday, Mr. Terkper said the provision of better and more reliable economic data is at the heart of effective macroeconomic policies.

“The rich diversity of our experiences, collectively, can tell us what kinds of data are the most important; where we can focus our energies to make those data better; where the most serious challenges and bottlenecks are; and how we can improve the ways we use those data to make the best policy decisions possible.

“To do this, we will also look to our partners in these efforts — such as the IMF with its considerable technical expertise and who has been providing technical assistance and training to all of us in the many domains of macro and financial statistics; such as national accounts, price statistics, government finance, monetary and external sector statistics, and increasingly also how to disseminate those data.

“While we have developed detailed plans for statistical improvements that are posted on the IMF’s Data Dissemination Bulletin Board; we look forward to hearing from others that have taken the first step toward enhancing such participation with greater transparency. Our experience with rating agencies and the issuing of sovereign bonds on the international capital market tells me that more transparency will eventually provide dividends, including facilitating government borrowing and lowering costs,” the Finance Minister said.

The minister stated that government’s efforts to strengthen its statistical framework contributes to enhancing its capacity to implement better policies.

“It also enhances our relationships with credit rating agencies and markets, allowing us to improve our access to financing,” he said.

Also, in the sub-region’s quest to achieve regional integration, Mr. Terkper said harmonised data has a key role to play.

“Regional integration has become a higher priority on the policy agenda. In this context, we have much to learn from colleagues on how harmonised data contributes in a meaningful way to regional integration. While the challenges may be many in the area of statistics, there are concrete steps that can be taken. I will be particularly curious to hear how these issues have been addressed in different contexts across Africa,” Mr. Terkper said at the meeting.

The essence of the IMF Conference on Enhanced Data for Better Macro Policies, the Finance Minister said, “will give many of us an opportunity to recognise the importance of our own national statistical units. These units provide the raw material for economic and financial analysis, which leads to strong economic policies and development planning.

“This conference will allow us to understand better what these units do, and also allow them to better understand the needs of their policy-making clients. Armed with this more profound understanding, I would urge all of my colleagues, at home and across the continent, to make the necessary investment to strengthen these institutions. Enhanced Data for Better Policies is a fundamental key to our success as our region grows and accelerates in the coming decades.”

credit: b&ft