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* Sri Lanka Central Bank assures integrity of country data and statistics
Tue, Jan 21, 2014, 11:07 pm SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Jan 21, Colombo: Sri Lanka's monetary authority, Central Bank today dismissing the claims of manipulation of the country's data and statistics assured that all necessary efforts are being taken to ensure high quality data dissemination.

The Central Bank was responding to the recent media reports that questioned the integrity of the data used in compiling national accounts and other indicators, allegedly based on certain statements made by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and a few other selected persons.

Issuing a statement the Central Bank said the comments and allegations cited in these articles are "unfounded and baseless", and that the writers have distorted the recommendations of the IMF, and used its statements largely out of context.

Some of those claims have also ignored the notable progress Sri Lanka achieved in improving its data compilation and dissemination standards, the Bank said.

"Central Bank is of the view that the comments cited by those articles, which have been taken out of context in order to support an incorrect conclusion that the current status of data compilation in the country is unsatisfactory and unreliable, is a mischievous attempt to distract from the progress made in the country's economy, which is supported by existing data," the Bank charged.

According to the monetary agency, Sri Lanka currently follows the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS) of the IMF, and has been a participant in the GDDS since July 2000.

The Central Bank and the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) continue to submit country information/data as per the requirements under Article IV to the IMF.

"The IMF has been consistently using these data for their publications and reports, thereby indicating their confidence and reliance on the data compilation and the submitted information," the Bank's statement noted.

It said that Article IV consultation missions always propose recommendations for further improvements in every country and the recommendations proposed for Sri Lanka are progressive measures which would assist the country to further improve its compilation of national account statistics.

The proposed recommendations are not in any way a suggestion that the current methodology cannot be relied upon, the Bank clarified.

Sri Lanka has also, on its own, has taken a wide range of initiatives to further improve the compilation of its national statistics, according to the Central Bank.

Meanwhile, the Department of Census and Statistics (DCS) has also launched an Economic Census in 2013 with follow-up establishment surveys planned in 2014. The surveys aim to aim to address any national accounts source data gaps, in the short to medium term.

The DCS has also planned to revise the base year of GDP to 2010 during this year, and in doing so, certain benchmark activities have already been initiated, the Bank informed.

The Central Bank reiterating that the news articles in question have been written, either in ignorance of the current developments taking place in Sri Lanka to enhance the compilation of national accounts statistics, or with the malicious intention of tarnishing the image of the DCS and the Central Bank, asked the public not to be misled by such media claims.

Read full statement of the Central Bank here.

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