Is STATIN falling short?
Neville Graham, Staff Reporter
Executive Director of the Jamaica Business Development Corporation (JBDC), Valerie Veira, is questioning the sectoral value of data coming out of the Statistical Institute (STATIN). She says while STATIN is doing a lot of work, she is left to wonder whether the output matches the needs of persons in sectors such as the small to medium enterprises (SMEs).
"We need to look at what is happening now in that Government is actually spending money on so-called research. We need to look if that is a useful exercise or (if) it needs to evolve to what the new needs are. STATIN may collect data (but) is the data that they are collecting what we need?" Veira questioned, as she lamented the lack of useful information to inform policy and business decision-making.
She was speaking at the Gleaner's Editors' Forum at our North Street Offices yesterday.
She insisted that STATIN needs to revisit the data that it is collecting as the SME sector is looking for answers that its (STATIN's) output does not necessarily supply. Veira said it was not her place to offer a critique of STATIN's work, but there is an urgent need for certain answers that would inform prescriptions for growth.
"We need to know who the new participants are in the (SME) sector. What are their needs? Unless you know those needs, even the commercial banks and their products (such as loans) are not aligned necessarily with what these people need; (therefore) it impacts the total 'ecosystem'."
Veira said while she was not advocating a wholesale change, there is a need to look at what is presently being done at STATIN with a view to making what is available more relevant and making additions where necessary.
The Statistical Institute produces a range of monthly, quarterly and annual surveys; these include the consumer price index, labour market surveys, the annual statistical digest and the National Census.