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The Statistic Division has complained that it is facing serious problems while gathering data from Sindh on various economic indicators and, as a result, the province can face serious impacts on economic growth locally and globally.
This was stated by Secretary Ministry of Statistic Shaista Sohail while briefing the Senate Standing Committee on Statistics, which met here Friday under the chairmanship of Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini. The panel discussed the agenda of the coding system of Pakistan and issues of data compilation. The meeting commenced with a detailed briefing of the Ministry of Statistics on the coding system in Pakistan and classification based on international taxonomy. Senator Lieutenant General Abdul Qayyum (retd) inquired from the ministry about measures taken to maintain data authenticity, saying what role the Senate committee can play in introducing necessary legislation to help the ministry have authentic economic data of all the provinces.
The secretary informed the panel that the ministry is getting data from various trade bodies, provincial departments and associations on various segments of the economy which are mentioned in the Economic Survey of Pakistan and other documents.
The committee members also asked the officials of the Statistic Division to provide simple and common terms for data of various economic indicators. The panel also asked the officials what the reality is behind recently highlighted figures of inflation during the first six months of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) governments.
The secretary said whatsoever figures the ministry is getting on various heads it is making them public, adding that there were anomalies in the data the ministry received from various stakeholders.
"We have serious issues on data collection in Sindh province; however, we are trying to sensitise the province that this will lead to a drop in the province's international share which will have adverse effects on its economic growth," the statistic Ministry officials said.
The officials of the State Bank of Pakistan and Federal Bureau of Revenue (FBR) said that mere 20 percent data of various economic indicators was retrieved from Karachi while the city is the hub of industrial and economic activities.
Chairman Committee Senator Jehanzeb Jamaldini stressed the need for quality control. He said that without quality management, Pakistan tends to lose its business share internationally. He said that all measures should be taken to ensure that Ministry of Industries & Production facilitates the Bureau of Statistics and Ministry of Statistics in every way to obtain accurate data.
While discussing details of data acquisition from Pakistan Revenue Automation Limited (PRAL), Senator Shibli Faraz objected to the fact that data is being compiled in terms of Pakistani rupees instead of international USD standards. He stressed the need for data compilation in USD and said that data other than in this form could be considered deceptive. He stressed the need for authentic data for strong policymaking and said that by the end of the term of this government, Pakistan will possess a strong database that would provide information on all sectors.
The officials said that at present the Ministry of Statistic does not have a chief statistician and that policies are being formulated to ensure that the ministry staffers, who have been working in junior positions, are promoted to this level. The committee assured the ministry of its all-out support.
The panel also directed the officials concerned to appoint chief statistician at Federal Bureau of Statistic on urgent basis.
The meeting was attended by Senator Nighat Mirza, Senator Lieutenant General Abdul Qayyum (retd), Leader of the House Senator Syed Shibli Faraz and senior officers from the Ministry of Statistics, Pakistan Bureau of Statistics, Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the State Bank of Bank.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2019