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Satisfied with STATIN! - No concerns in Cabinet over official growth numbers, says Williams

Published:Friday | August 31, 2018 | 12:00 AMArthur Hall/Associate Editor

Questions by members of the Andrew Holness administration about the accuracy of the growth numbers produced by the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) should now be put to rest following a presentation to the Cabinet by the agency.

Minister without Portfolio in the Ministry of Finance Fayval Williams told Wednesday's post-Cabinet media briefing that a comprehensive report was presented to the Cabinet on the activities used by STATIN to determine the growth rate, the sources of the data, and the mechanisms utilised.

At least two members of the Cabinet have recently questioned the accuracy of the growth numbers, while implying that the economy is growing at a rate faster than reported by STATIN, but Williams said that this was not the position of the Government.

"The administration has never been in any doubt about the accuracy of the calculations by STATIN," said Williams as she pointed to the more than 70-year track record of the agency.

"There is absolutely no reason to doubt its methodology, which is based on international standards. The presentation to the Cabinet was the first since this Cabinet has been in existence, so it was timely to present just how they do what they do," added Williams.

She said that Cabinet members were allowed to ask any questions they had in the wake of concerns raised about the accuracy of the growth numbers.

"We all have been noticing a flurry of activity in the economy, and so we have our notion. And when I say we, I mean the general population has their notion of what the number should be, but at the end of the day, we have to depend on this institution (STATIN) for the measurement, and we have to accept what the numbers are, and I think there is no dispute about those numbers," said Williams.