The Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is said to be the most widely used indicator of a country’s economic performance. This words were echoed by Statistician General, Dr Burton Mguni at the rebasing of the GDP stakeholder workshop which was held at Tlotlo Conference Center on 28th August, 2019.
“The GDP is obtained through a process of compilation of national accounts. Botswana’s national accounts are compiled by Statistics Botswana in accordance with international standards contained in the System of National Accounts (SNA)” said Dr Mguni.
The SNA is the internationally agreed standard set of recommendations on how to compile measures of economic activity in accordance with strict accounting conventions based on economic principles. Botswana’s national accounts are largely based on the SNA 1993.
Dr Mguni further said that data used to compile national accounts statistics are drawn from differen sources such as censuses, Household income and expenditure or budget surveys; annual Business surveys, administrative records, public accounts, and many other sources.
“Botswana compiles both quarterly and annual national accounts using the production and expenditure approach for the estimates of the GDP. The Quarterly GDP is published with a lag of ninety (90) days while annual GDP is published with a lag of nine months. This is in line with international standards for timeliness” said the Statistician General.
Explaining rebasing Dr Mguni said it’s a process in which an old base year is replaced with a new and more recent year adding, that it is internationally recommended that national accounts estimates should be rebased every five (5) years.
“The objective of rebasing national accounts is to take into account changes that happened in the economy in terms of economic structure, consumption pattern, prices of goods and services, as well as new data that has become available after the last rebasing”, he said.
On Botswana’s national accounts Dr Mguni said the estimates were rebased in 2012 using 2006 as the base year adding that currently Botswana’s accounts are not rebased every five (5) years but the plan going forward is to follow the international standard.
Dr Mguni said some of the main reasons why the rebasing was not done earlier so as to conform to international recommendation was the delay of the conduct of some surveys that provide critical data needed for rebasing.
“The delays were in the main due to the major work that was done to migrate the National Statistical Organization from being a department within government to become Statistics Botswana, a parastatal organization as well as preparing for the conduct of 2011 census at the same time” he said.
Dr Mguni also rest assured his audience that following the completion rebasing exercise SB will be working on a plan of following best practice of rebasing every five (5) years in order to recognize structural changes in the economy more promptly.
In her closing remarks the Acting Director of Economic Statistics Ms Ketso Makhumalo thanked all suppliers and producers statistics for having graced the workshop.
Ms Makhumalo also promised that GDP will continue to be released even when the rebasing exercise is ongoing.
“The quality of rebased GDP depends on you therefore you should feel free to critic and advise us accordingly”, she said.