Georgian Statistics To Solve Confidence Problem
08 December, 2011
Georgian Statistics To Solve Confidence Problem

Georgian national statistics service drafted its first ever national strategy for 2011-2014 but the key problem is lack of popular confidence on the part of Georgian statistics, which arises due to legislative defects.

The key concern of Geostat, national statistics body of Georgia, is to solve the problem of trustful information provided by Georgian official statistics that have notorious fame at the moment. Since there is no other tool to control the authenticity level of Geostat information experts as well as public have no other way than to view the supplied official figures with doubt and complains.

To increase confidence in Georgian statistics body Geostat needs better funding and management, more skilful personnel and coordination with governmental structures as well as with businesses. To meet these goals Geostat worked out its first ever National Strategy for the Development of Statistics in Georgia (NSDS) that sets goals and targets for the national statistical system from 2011 until December 2014 and has been prepared in line with the recommendations of the Partnership in Statistics for Development in the 21st Century (PARIS21) with the support of Trust Fund of the World Bank. It identifies the current status of the statistical system, sets out strengths and weaknesses and reviews the external environment for statistics in the country.

“The top priority of our strategy is business plan development enabling us to carry out our activities within near 3 years. Another priority is insurance by financial resources from government and donors. Besides the strategy paper is important to us to spot our real abilities,” Zaza Chelidze, Director Executive of Geostat, told Georgian Journal during the strategy presentation event on November 30, 2011.

The assessment found that the statistical system had a number of strengths. There have been clear improvements in the quality and coverage of economic and financial statistics demonstrated by reaching the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard in 2010. Georgia has also shown rapid improvements in statistical capacity as measured by the World Bank between 2004 and 2010. Other strengths include the establishment of Geostat as an independent statistical agency and the commitment to maintaining trust in the integrity of official statistics. A strong leadership structure is in place and there is both a willingness to change and mechanisms to set a clear strategic direction.

Weaknesses reflect limited resources, especially the level of the recurrent budget, inadequate numbers of professional staff and uncertainties over the financing of the next population

census. These problems are not much different from those facing many other countries at a similar level of development.

However as Gia Jandieri, Member pf Geostat Board, accentuated one of the key weaknesses that should be removed is better coordination between Geostat and other state structures that withhold information accumulated at their offices to Geostat.

“We frequently hear complains toward Geostat information while authors of these remarks are not aware whether or not Geostat itself obtains the questioned information. It is too difficult to get an access to information while ministries keep some information out of reach,” he said.

However this is a part of the problem, Nodar Khaduri, an economic analyst said. Another part is that Geostat has no access to business information due to law approved in 2009 that revoked obligatory requirement on information delivery to statistics body and based it on good will. As an aftermath some entrepreneurs and state structures have this good will to cooperate with Geostat, and some-not thus undermining authenticity of official statistics.

“We have no other source of getting statistics data rather than Geostat and therefore the key problem is to make it trustful that means Geostat should have an increased access to information withheld by business and state structure as the law creates a room for this. You cannot calculate unemployment, GDP, producers’ price index and so forth without information provided by business. We have to find mechanism to solve this problem,” he said.