WINDHOEK, 04 JUN – The Namibia Statistics Agency (NSA) should improve its quarterly estimates of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the International Monetary Fund has recommended.
The recommendation is contained in a technical assistance report on Namibia released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on 30 May 2018 and aimed at supporting the NSA in improving national accounts statistics for policy making.
The IMF in its report highlighted the importance of tax data for national accounts compilation, rebasing of the GDP and for quarterly national accounts.
One of the issues identified was that more than 10 per cent of the units listed under quarterly GDP estimates were classified as ‘unknown or other’.
The NSA currently produces its quarterly estimates in constant prices using a variety of indicators, some of which are sub-optimal.
The hotel industry activity for instance is estimated using bed occupancy rates. However, this indicator omits significant aspects of the industry’s output such as bars, restaurants, spas and gyms.
The IMF said the NSA also classified small or apparently dormant businesses to wholesale and retail, which may not be accurate.
“It was agreed between the agencies that, as a matter of urgency, the NSA and Ministry of Finance would work together to correctly classify these unknown businesses,” the report said.
It further indicated that the NSA would rebase the national accounts in 2019 and implement fully the 2008 System of National Accounts (2008 SNA) which would require significantly more data on financial services from the Bank of Namibia, to enable correct allocation of financial intermediation services.
In order to make headway in producing reliable national accounts statistics, the NSA should overcome the barriers that currently prevent the sharing of non-anonymised information between the Ministry of Finance and the agency.
“While the magnitude of the changes to be reflected with the rebase of the national accounts for Namibia are not yet known, it is likely that this work also will have important implications for macroeconomic and financial policies and should be supported as a priority,” the report stated.
The IMF further indicated that the NSA produces quarterly estimates of GDP in constant prices only, however, obtaining valued-added tax and other administrative data would enable the compilation of quarterly GDP in current prices and better estimates of constant GDP prices.