By: Momodou Justice Darboe
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) have gathered in Banjul participants from the various central banks in West Africa for a five-day regional course on balance of payments statistics and international investment position statistics.
The five-day workshop, currently underway at the Paradise Suites Hotel, is aimed at making participants au fait with the revised System of National Accounts (SNA) and Balance of Payments (BOP) compilation.
“It also covers the linkages between these macroeconomic data sets. The scope includes basic concepts, accounting principles, and methods of compilation/classification within the context of the new Balance of Payments Manual VI,” the Governor of the Central Bank of The Gambia (CBG), Mr. Buah Saidy, revealed in a statement delivered on his behalf by the CBG’s Human Resource Manager, Baboucarr Cham, at the opening ceremony of the workshop on Monday.
The IMF has despatched facilitators from its pool of statisticians to facilitate the course.
According to Governor Saidy, the course is significant in that external statistics and other statistics form part of the primary statistics on which policymakers and markets rely to inform decisions in globalized economies. He continued:“The balance of payments records the value of a country’s transactions with the rest of the world in goods, services, income, and transfers, as well as the changes in a country’s financial claims on, and liabilities to the rest of the world. These statistics on the external sector are key to policymakers, as well as analysts in the public sector, and indeed the private sector and international organizations. This is because external sector statistics assist economic agents to determine the link between the domestic and external economy, and the sustainability of the factors influencing external transactions.” The CBG governor pointed out that the Balance of Payments statistics are among the important economic indicators used in analyzing the performance of an economy.
According to Mr. Saidy, despite his awareness that the various Central Banks in WAIFEM member countries are at varied stages in the implementation of the Balance of Payments Manual VI and adapting their data collection methodologies to the new Guide as well as broadening the scope of the collection, the compilation of external statistics is becoming more complicated due to recent changes such as transactions.
“For instance, there have been changes like institutional units; the nature of current account transactions, and an increase in cross-border financial activity, among others. Hence, monitoring and enhancing data quality in the context of such rapidly changing economies tend to impose heavy constraints on compilers of such external statistics,” he explained.
“Another challenge is the need for timely, accessible, and quality data dissemination for economic analyses and policy implementation. More timely, reliable data is needed in several key areas such as the external sector,” Mr. Saidy explained.
The CBG boss highlighted that the global financial and economic crises have also lent support to the fact that the provision of data by borrowing countries should meet global standards for the dissemination of data.
Speaking earlier, the Director General of WAIFEM, Dr. Baba Yusuf Musa, said: “The main objective of this workshop is to get participants acquainted with the revised Balance of Payments Manual(BPM6). Also, the workshop is expected to upgrade the knowledge and skills of participants in the compilation of balance of payments and the Systems of National Accounts and the interlinkages between the balance of payments and other sectoral accounts.”
According to the WAIFEM boss, the workshop has been designed to cover several key topics such as Conceptual Framework and Core Accounting Principles, Financial Instruments and Functional Categories in BPM6, Goods Account, Service Account, Primary Income Account, Secondary Income and Capital Accounts, Direct Investment, Portfolio and Other Investment, reserve Assets: Main Achievements, Challenges and Prospects, International Investment Position as well as workshops.