IMF team to arrive in Pakistan on April 1, Senate body told

Will review working and methodologies of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics

APP March 30, 2019
The secretary was of the view that there was no external influence on the functioning of the PBS and it was a completely autonomous and independent entity. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: A team of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is visiting Pakistan from April 1 to review the working and methodologies of the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS), informed Statistics Secretary Shaista Sohail.

During a brief meeting with the Senate Standing Committee on Statistics on Friday, she detailed that the team would remain in the country for 12 days and would scrutinise the transparency in mechanism for procuring data in various sectors.

“The IMF team visited Pakistan two years ago and suggested some methodologies to improve the functioning and transparency of the Statistics Division which are being fully implemented,” she declared.

The secretary was of the view that there was no external influence on the functioning of the PBS and it was a completely autonomous and independent entity.

IMF mission chief meets SBP governor ahead of monetary policy

With respect to the announcement of gross domestic product (GDP) data, the secretary explained that until now, the GDP data was being announced on an annual basis, while from next year, the data would be released on a quarterly basis. Committee Chairman Senator Dr Jehanzeb Jamaldini termed statistics an important division and directed to make it highly efficient and progressive.

Discussing the sixth population census held in 2017, Sohail outlined that only a minor difference was observed between the provisional and final data as there were 68,000 less people in the final result compared to the provisional result.

“The population growth of the country is gradually decreasing,” she reaffirmed. “In 1981 and 1998, the population growth was recorded at 3.06% and 2.69%, respectively while in 2017, the population grew at a pace of 2.4%.”

Presenting province-wise breakup, she elaborated that in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa the population growth rate increased to 2.89% in 2017 from 2.82% in 1998 while in Punjab, the growth rate declined to 2.13% from 2.64%.

Similarly in Sindh, the growth rate also shrank from 2.8% in 1998 to 2.41% in 2017. In Balochistan, the growth rate, however, increased from 2.47% in 1998 to 2.27% in 2017.

Questioning the accuracy of census in Karachi, Senator Rukshana Zuberi argued that Karachi’s actual population was far different than what had been reported in the sixth population census.

The secretary, however, insisted that the head count of Karachi was totally accurate and all neutral international as well as local observers had declared the sixth population census as transparent.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2019.

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