By Olimatou Coker
The Gambia Bureau of Statistics recently convened a forum on publication of the 2013 rebased gross domestic products of The Gambian economy, held at a local hotel in Kololi.
The forum was meant to provide up-date GDP estimates in terms of improved coverage of emerging economic activities and methodologies in line with international standards.
In her welcoming remarks, Head National Accounts, Aja Aminata Deen, maintains that the National Account unit of GBoS being the core entity of the economic statistics directorate is mandated to collect, compile and analyze data on all branches of economic activities to produce annual GDP for the country.
She said the main objective of the GDP rebasing was to develop a new series of national account with 2013 as the new benchmark or base year replacing the current 2004 benchmark year, and to migrate from 1993 UN system of national account to 2008 SNA.
Madam Deen noted that the GDP and its components are evaluated annually at both current prices for the level /nominal and constant prices for measuring real growth rates and provide key information on the structure and development of economy.
She expressed gratitude to the government and the World Bank through the IFMIS project of MOFEA, for making available necessary resources for the conduct of an economic census at an initial stage of the rebasing process and for funding the collection of data for the subsequent years 2014 to 2017.
“The rebasing of the GDP from 2004 to 2003 benchmark year provided the opportunity to review concept and methodologies, improve data sources, and to revise and update statistical classifications following the guidelines of 2008.”
She however urged policymakers, ministries, departments and agencies to make effective use of the 2013 GDP rebased figure to enhance policy formulation and planning and for evidence based decision-making.
The statistician General, Nyakassi Sanyang, said the outcome of the rebasing activity will contribute to guide decision-making with sound and latest information on GDP estimates for results based policy formulation, planning and evaluation.
He said: “Due to the evolving nature of our economies, it is important to change reference or benchmarking periods of GDP estimates on regular basis to include and measures emerging economic activities and products and that it also gives us the opportunity to align our methodologies with updated international recommendations in line with United Nations system of national accounts.
Outdated GDP base year does not reflect current realities of economic environment, in The Gambia, the first rebasing of its GDP was in 1976/77, the second in 2004 and the new rebasing to 2013, the third and the last, according to Sanyang.