News ID: 120491
Published: 0711 GMT June 20, 2015

On plausibility of more statistical centers

On plausibility of more statistical centers

By Jalaleddin Jalali

In an approval on June 8, 2015, the High Council of Statistics named Statistical Center of Iran as the only official entity responsible for releasing state data, prohibiting other executive organizations from performing the duty.

The move was apparently aimed at excluding Central Bank of Iran, which has a longer experience in compiling, processing and producing statistics compared to SCI, from the process of publishing economic figures.

This is while, Valiollah Seif, the CBI president, has announced that the bank and SCI are two partners, not rivals, that complement each others' activities.

He, then, referred to Article 54 of the Fifth Five-Year Economic Development Plan (2010-15), and said that the CBI will continue to release the information on its website.

Therefore, those who use the bank's data can remain hopeful of not missing the organization's monthly, seasonal and annual figures.

It is, of course, highly probable that in a more acute move, the High Council may put further restrictions on the bank's valuable operations and efforts in this regard.

Internationally, it is not very common to name one single entity as the only authorized organization in charge of releasing official economic data. Nevertheless, the move can minimize the confusion arising from the release of paradoxical figures among the general public.

In general, it is not suitable to put pressure on organizations to suspend statistical activities because the greater is the number of statistics resources, the higher will be the probability that time series errors reveal themselves.

Greater number of statistical centers also intensifies the competition in the sector and consequently improves and increases the quality and verity of the figures.

Availability of several statistics institutes also helps increase the speed of publishing the figures.

In Iran, for instance, SCI, solely, is responsible for calculating and announcing annual statistics. This has led to the production of unreliable information. Since 2001, unemployment rates announced by the center have been only subject to a fluctuation range of 12 percent (±1.5) which shows glaring contradiction with the reality.

Another drawback of the high council's approval, as many maintain, is that the SCI, in many instances when needed, has not been responsive to uncertainties. Access to the center's statistics is also very difficult and involves a great deal of correspondence and bureaucracies.

This is while, CBI's statistics are easily available and the bank's officials are extremely responsive.

Politically tampered-with statistics are quite unreliable and invalid. SCI is a subsidiary of the Management and Planning Organization of Iran, while CBI acts more independently from the government. To dispel doubts in this respect, if any, it is extremely plausible that other authorities also undertake the responsibility in parallel with the SCI.

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