World Statistics Day-Focus on facts and people


20-October-2012

Security officer Diana Larue

The day celebrates the important role of official statistics in policy-making and also in the social and economic development of our societies.

For the occasion, the National Statistics Bureau (NBS) sheds more light about the events that take place behind the scenes to give us the figures we often need for planning and other purposes, as we publish pictures of the men and women behind the effort to compile the data.

Missing in the photographs are NBS chief executive Laura Ah-Time and chief statistician Helena De Letourdis, who were not available when we took the pictures.

The NBS

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is the lead agency responsible for the production of official statistics in Seychelles. NBS works closely with other government ministries, departments and agencies in producing quality statistics required for monitoring and evaluating various programmes and projects.

The NBS operates under the Statistics Act 2010. The Act gives the Bureau authority to John Betsy who helps prepare the census and survey statisticshave access to and make use of administrative / secondary data wherever these are known to be available and can be used for statistical compilation. The Act also guarantees confidentiality in that the identification of the respondent is not disclosed in any published data. 

The Bureau is also responsible for coordinating, monitoring and supervising the National Statistical System (NSS). The NSS comprises all data producers, users and suppliers and research and training institutions.

Importance of Statistics

Statistics are important in helping policy makers to allocate scarce resources, monitor national progress and make government more transparent and accountable. 

Need for good Statistics

There is now broad concensus internationally that good statistics are a necessary part of the enabling environment for national development. In particular, better statistics:

• Are required for management of the business of government as well as provide society generally with information.

• Are needed to provide a basis for good policy and decision-making.

• Help identify best courses of action in addressing complex issues e.g. poverty.

• Are essential to manage service delivery. Are essential for transparency, accountability and democracy of the government and other development programmes

• Provide a sound basis for designing, management, monitoring and evaluation of national policy frameworks such as employment levels, Millenium Development Goals (MDGs), etc; and

• Are essential for measuring development outcomes.


Role of Census & Survey Section

Pamela Pillay, Jeanne D’Arc Delpech , Bertrand Louis-Marie and Sandro Ernesta (also of the census and survey statistics?)

A substantial proportion of economic and demographic statistics published by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) is sourced from secondary data generated as a result of administrative processes. On the other hand, the majority of socio-economic and social statistics come from primary data collected through household-based censuses and surveys. 

The primary role of the Census and Survey Section is to undertake such data collection exercises and furnish users and stakeholders with indicators for planning and decision making.

The largest exercise carried out is the Population and Housing Censuses, the most recent one undertaken in August 2010. Major regular surveys include the Labour Force Survey and the Household Budget Survey. The former was last carried out in 2011 while the latter is currently being piloted in preparation for full launch in 2013.

Apart from its own regular censuses and surveys, the NBS also assists other public and private organisations to carry out research related work. 

Recently the NBS carried out the Living Condition Survey in collaboration with the Agency for Social Protection (ASP) and the UNDP, and also collaborated with the Seychelles Agricultural Agency (SAA) to carry out the 2011 Agriculture Census.

Consumer Price Index Unit

Peggy Mondon and Benjamin Ciseau who prepare the cost price index statistics

Introduction
          
The Consumer Price Index  is an extremely important economic indicator. It measures the change in the cost of a fixed basket of goods. The CPI calculates the rates of inflation.
What is the CPI?
Every country needs a general indicator of the rate of price change for consumer goods and services. The measure most commonly used as an indicator is an index relates to prices paid by consumers for the goods and services they buy. 
          
To put it in more formal terms, the CPI measures the change in the cost of purchasing a constant basket of goods and services representative of the purchases made by the consumers in a specified time period.

The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) produces a monthly Consumer Price Index (CPI) Bulletin.

Formal Employment and Earnings Section

Objective
To collect the average number of persons in formal employment and the average gross earnings on a monthly basis for compiling a quarterly statistical bulletin.
Source of data

The data is collected from the Government, private and parastatal sectors.
Data dissemination

Formal Employment and Earnings data is disseminated in the form of a quarterly bulletin.
Use of formal Employment and Earnings data

The Employment and Earnings data is used in National Accounts compilations. It is also used to establish the status of formal employment in the country for planning and development purposes.

Hotels Statistics

Angele Bernard, Elsie Auguste, Josiane Marie and Laurenia Poupounneau from the tourism and hotel statistics section

All licensed tourism establishments are surveyed monthly for their stock of beds and rooms occupied by both visitors and residents. Hotels statistics are classified by type of accommodations, i.e. large hotels (25 rooms+), guesthouses and self-caterings on Mahe, Praslin, La Digue and Other Islands.

The survey is to collect business operating information for statistical and economic analysis of the industry as well as responding to the demand by business, institutions and government for more current information on industry trends.  The results will assist  in the formulation of evidence-based policies and will constitute an important input for the governing body to monitor and know about the stock of beds and rooms prior to grant licenses to more tourism accommodation establishments.

Merchandise Trade Statistics

Marina Roucou, Florence Clarisse, Aurestina Bonne, Nelson Joseph and chief statistician Michel Mellie from the merchandise trade statistics section

The term “International Merchandise Trade Statistics” (IMTS) refers to a specialized branch of official statistics concerned with the provision of data on the movements of goods between countries and regions.  It is categorized into Imports, Domestic Exports and Re – Exports.

Valuation
Imports are valued as CIF (Cost, insurance and Freight) while Domestic Exports and Re-Exports are valued as FOB (free on board).

Sources of data
There are a number of sources for IMTS data but the most prevalent is customs records.  Other sources of data are IOT, SEYPEC, SFA amongst others.  The aim of which is to complement and verify on the accuracy and completeness of customs data.

Uses
International Merchandise Trade Statistics are economic statistics which serve a variety of needs such as establishing general economic policy of a country, development of trade policies, trade negotiations, monitoring trade agreements and disputes, market analysis and compilation of various price and trade indexes and computation trade indicators.

Users
There are many users of IMTS including Government, Trade Division, Central Bank, Chamber of Commerce, sub-regional, regional and international organizations, commercial enterprises, the business community and the general public at large.

National Accounts Unit

Inese Larue and Thessia Kilindo from the national accounts and employment statistics section

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is one of the key macroeconomic indicators compiled in the National Accounts. This important indicator provides a measure of the total value of goods and services that the country produces within a given time frame. It is for now compiled and published annually but it can also be compiled on a quarterly basis provided the data inputs required are available on a timely basis.

 GDP is an important economic measure but it is NOT:
• An indicator of general ‘wellbeing’ or ‘progress’ – it takes no account of health,
environment, security etc.

• An indicator of income distribution or the retention of income generated within a
country.

How is GDP measured?
GDP is measured as the sum of the Value Added generated by the productive activities in the Seychelles economy.

For each productive unit in the economy Value Added can be calculated as:
Value Added = Gross Output less Intermediate Consumption

And also, Value Added equals the sum of incomes generated by the unit:
Value Added =  Compensation of Employees (i.e. Income to employees) plus Operating Surplus (gross) i.e. Income to owners, plus Taxes, less any Subsidies (i.e. Income to government).
Overview of data sources

National Accounts compilation fully utilises existing data sources as past experience has shown that feedback from establishment surveys have not been encouraging with low response rates.
The existing data sources have been:

1. Private Sector Financial Statements
This is provided by companies to the Seychelles Revenue Commission (SRC). Copies are received by the NBS under the data supply and confidentiality provisions of the National Bureau of Statistics Act (2010), Section 16 “Access to records”.

2. GST data from the SRC
Data on GST tax collected has also been computerised and classified, and used to produce estimates of output where possible. This is a valuable data source, but has coverage limits because Seychelles GST is levied on specified activities and not on all economic activity. Also, Output cannot be estimated from GST levied on a volume basis for some manufacturing activities.

3. Direct Financial data
NBS has gained access to and made use of direct financial data as follows:
(a) Government (budgetary and non-budgetary) from Ministry of Finance
(b) Commercial Banks from the Central Bank of Seychelles (CBS) records
(c) Market parastatals, and selected large private companies


4.  NBS data sources
More intensive use of existing data such as the NBS employment database, trade statistics, production surveys, tourism statistics and results from household surveys. This also included work on harmonising classifications and other developments to meet national accounts data needs.

5.  Other data
This includes access to various other administrative data including information held by Seychelles International Business Authority (SIBA) on the operations of companies operating in the SITZ.


Production Indicators
Production statistics comprise of data on volume of selected goods and services produced In Seychelles. Major enterprises are surveyed on a quarterly basis through a questionnaire sent requesting their output for the particular quarter. Production statistics is a key input in calculating GDP.


Social Statistics Section

Kirsten Arnephy, Margaret Ntende and Maria Bacco from the social statistics and crime statistics section

The Social Statistics section coordinates the collection, organization, analysis, interpretation and presentation of Crime Justice and Security (CJS) statistics.

The Social Statistics section also collects and analyzes quarterly data on visitors’ experience vis-à-vis safety and security, through a self administered questionnaire.

The Section has also worked with UNDP and the Agency for Social Protection to establish a Poverty profile for Seychelles.

GIS Unit: Using modern technology to convey information

The Geographical Information Systems (GIS) Unit mainly serves the requirements of census and survey operations in the provision and updating of maps. 

The history of map production for census and survey taking in Seychelles dates back to 1994 when the use of GIS technology was incorporated into the census undertaking process. The preliminary objective was to improve and facilitate the enumeration process by providing (i) clear demarcations of structures and boundaries (ii) non-overlapping enumeration and supervisory areas and (iii) guide lists of names for locating households. The detailed maps have become crucial field tools that not only facilitate enumeration but also improve on population coverage.

Presently this unit is using 2011 orthophoto maps provided by the Ministry of Land Use and Housing to update structures (mainly residential).  These are manually drawn during field exercises, and then systematically coded and digitised for the update of the Geo-referenced dwelling frame. The objective of such a frame is that it provides an up-to-date sampling frame needed for conducting household based surveys and censuses.

Below is a sample map of an Enumeration Area (EA) which will be used for the upcoming Household Budget Survey in 2013
The NBS will soon be publishing its second census atlas based on the results of the 2010 Population and Housing census.  This atlas portrays an excellent example of how numerical data collected is transformed into useful information that planners, policy makers and other users can consider for decision-making.   When analysing and presenting information on the spatial distribution of the population and some of its socio-demographic and economic characteristics, maps are an invaluable aid to understanding patterns and trends.

Tourism Statistics

Source of Data
Data on tourism statistics are collected from the Department of Immigration’s embarkation and disembarkation cards.

Publication
Tourism Bulletins are produced weekly, monthly, quarterly and yearly.  Visitors are classified by their country of residence and their average length of stay in our country. Their purpose of visit -- example holiday, business -- is also captured. Other information captured are whether they stay in hotels, guest houses, self catering and on which islands.
Resident departures
Departing residents are classified by their purpose of visit as well as the country of destination.

Visitors survey
Visitors surveys are conducted on a quarterly basis at the Seychelles International Airport. The survey period is one week’s duration and covers all flight departing Seychelles. The questionnaire used is self administered by the visitors and are in four languages namely English, French, German and Italian.

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