The National Accounts Section of the Department of Statistics periodically revises the data it collects on the country, Acting Director of the Department Kelsie Dorsett said this week.

At a press conference announcing revised estimates for the country’s Gross Domestic Product for the period 1997 – 2006, along with 2007 preliminary estimates, Mrs. Dorsett said the Department makes the adjustments for three reasons:

· the availability of updated and improved data.
· the first compilation of 2002 Supply and Use tables.
· the rebasing of the Accounts.

The Acting Director said the latter two activities are included in the Department’s strategic plan, ‘The Way Forward’ published on the Central Bank of The Bahamas website in 2005 to improve the quality of National Accounts.

She explained that “The Way Forward” also talks about conducting an Economic Census which is still on-going and the results of which will be incorporated in the National Accounts in 2009.

The Department also implemented the use of Supply and Use Tables (SUT), which was developed with the assistance of SUT leading expert from Statistics Canada Yusuf Siddiqi, who worked under the auspices of Caribbean Regional Technical Assistance Centre.

“The SUT is a powerful economic data integrating accounting framework. The framework imposed a simultaneous balancing of industries and commodities,” Mrs. Dorsett said.

“It also revealed under-coverage in several industries and components of the Expenditure-based Gross Domestic Product (GDP).”

The GDP is one of the measures of national income and output for a given country’s economy and is defined as the total market value of all final goods and services produced within the country in a given period of time (usually a calendar year).

It is also considered the sum of value added at every stage of production (the intermediate stages) of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period of time, and it is given a money value.

She also noted that the SUT detailed framework reveals data gaps, under-coverage and errors in the source data.

“Such a feature is not available in other accounting frameworks as they are aggregated,” Mrs. Dorsett said. “It should be noted that, countries including the USA use SUT as a benchmark for their GDP Accounts.”

But she noted that the actual calculation for Gross Domestic Product has not changed. “Components within the calculation have changed.”

The industries that had the most revisions were the Construction and Real Estate Industries, which are now measured from the industries that used the service.

Mrs. Dorsett added that the Offshore Banking and the Foreign Airlines calculation for output were revised and now incorporate only the Compensation of Employees.

The Exports and Imports of Goods and Services, were also adjusted as a result of classification and placement differences between the Balance of Payments and the National Accounts.

She said another step in the advancement of the accounts was the process of rebasing. The rebasing of the accounts involved changing the base year from 1991 to 2006.

“Over time the value of the dollar decreases because of inflation,” Mrs. Dorsett explained. This is why it is important to rebase GDP to adequately reflect those changes.

“The combination of the mentioned adjustments has resulted in an overall increase in the level of GDP in both current and constant prices.”