ECOWAS member states have been urged to provide accurate and reliable data to help the compilation of national accounts to assist in measuring economic development progress across the sub-region.
The Commissioner, Macroeconomic Policy, and Economic Research at the ECOWAS Commission, Dr Kofi Konadu Apraku, made the call at a regional workshop in Abuja, Nigeria on the implementation of ECOWAS Common Platform for the Compilation of National Accounts Statistics based on the 2008 System of National Accounts (SNA 2008).
According to him, the cardinal goal of the meeting is to strengthen regional capacity for gathering, analysing and the provision of quality and reliable statistics relevant to the regional integration agenda in West Africa.
“The ECOWAS regional integration and its Vision 2020 processes require harmonised and comparable quality statistics from all member states,” Dr Apraku stated.
The aim of SNA is to provide an integrated and complete system of accounts that will enable international comparison of all significant economic activity in member countries.
Participants made up of directors and heads of national offices of statistics from the Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo attended the workshop.
Dr Apraku explained that national accounts provided a comprehensive accounting framework within which economic data could be compiled and presented in a format that was designed for purposes of economic analysis, decision-making and policy-making.
“National accounts help economists to measure the level of economic development and the rate of economic growth, the change in consumption and investment, among others, for the total economy. It also serves as a framework for macroeconomic analysis by presenting an overall picture of the functioning of an economy,” the commissioner stressed.
A Senior Economic Statistician of the National Accounts Section, Ghana Statistical Service, Mr Felix Kofi Debrah, who made a presentation on the status of the implementation in Ghana, stated that Ghana was on course to fully implement the SNA 2008.
He pointed out that the country was currently rebasing its accounts which was expected to be completed by the end of September this year.
The Director, Research and Statistics at the ECOWAS Commission, Mr Mohamadu Yahaya, stated that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), ECOWAS and other international organisations could not collect data without the involvement of member states, since those organisations did not have territories of their own.