The National Institute of Statistics yesterday launched the GDP Benchmarking and Rebasing Project for 2008-2009, which will be relied on in benchmarking the GDP estimates using 2006 data and rebasing GDP estimates using 2006 as the new base year.
In a new development, the institute will now be providing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) figures on a quarterly basis instead of waiting for a whole year.
Initially Rwanda has been using 2001 as its benchmark and rebasing year-using data collected in 2001 to calculate and produce official estimates of the GDP.
The new data from household income and enterprise surveys conducted between 2005 and 2006 as well as GDP statistics based on the 2006 benchmark indicate that GDP levels were understated by about 9.7 percent.
According to NISR different data sources and balancing the Supply and Use Table of 2006, changes in production and consumption patterns as well as non-comparability of goods and services between far and apart period led to GDP levels being understated.
Consequently, estimates from 2001 to 2006 have been revised upwards and 2006 used as a new basis for 2007 estimates onwards.
The changes were motivated by factors like changes in prices.
Officiating at the at the launch of the new project, Finance Minister, James Musoni hailed the institute for developing the capacity to provide quarterly GDP estimates and improving methods of producing top quality estimates.
“National accounts are a standard and comprehensive measure of a country’s economic performance. GDP statistics among many other indicators, allow us to monitor and evaluate the impact that policies implemented have hard on domestic economic activities.” Musoni said.
Musoni said that the improved benchmark and rebase year provide sound and reliable statistics which will improve policy making and the possibility of achieving the outputs and outcomes of such policies, while increasing the accountability of policy makers.
He said that the periodical benchmarking which will now be taking 3 months instead of a year will increase the availability of accurate and up to date data necessary for planning and monitoring the economy.
The new data has already been used to measure the country’s GDP growth rate, GDP per capita and inflation for the last 6 months.