By REBECCA MUSHOTA
THE International Monetary Fund (IMF) has recommended that the Central
Statistics Office (CSO) should formulate a Government finance
statistics guide to support policy decisions in Zambia.
The IMF statistics office recommended that the CSO should this month
formulate a Government Finance Statistics (GFS) manual that would
support policy decision making in Zambia.
This is according to a report released by the IMF statistics office on
March 14, this year.
The report follows visits by the IMF statistics office in 2014, 2016
and 2017 to provide technical assistance to the CSO on how to provide
data for Government decision making and surveillance.
The report recommends that a GFS manual would be a reference material
for data providers, compilers, and users.
Such a manual would contribute to improving data consistency of GFS
and other macroeconomic statistics.
The report recommended that the GFS manual would also assist the IMF
Africa Department in its surveillance.
“The mission found that the GFS compilation process is dominated by only one of
the member of the public finance unit and believes that an operation
manual (a guide)
that is a living, breathing set of systems and work instructions for
compiling GFS would be useful for team understanding of the GFS
process and would ensure sustainability and consistency in the GFS
compilation process,” the report says.
The report also recommends establishment of a coordinating committee
between relevant departments to facilitate compilation of GFS.
It says that the limited institutional coverage of currently compiled
GFS hampered the IMF’s African Department surveillance.
The coverage of GFS is currently limited to budgetary central government units.
The IMF African Department was of the view that broadening the
institutional coverage of fiscal statistics were key considering the
increase in public investment projects undertaken by state-owned
enterprises and increase in public debt.
The IMF technical mission has supported the CSO’s initiative to create
a new annual publication on financial statistics.
To support further progress, the report says, the mission reviewed the
five-year action plan that was developed during the previous GFS
technical assistance mission, focusing on the activities for the next
three years to incorporate new actions and more realistic deadlines.