Article VIII, Section 5
- International Monetary Fund
- Published Date:
- June 2007
Furnishing of Information1
Strengthening the Effectiveness of Article VIII, Section 5
1. Pursuant to Article VIII, Section 5, the Fund decides that all members shall provide the information listed in Annex A to this decision, which is necessary for the Fund to discharge its duties effectively. Members shall provide the data specified in Annex A for the periods commencing after December 31, 2004. Annex A shall be reviewed no later than December 31, 2009.2
2. When a member fails to provide information to the Fund as specified in Article VIII, Section 5 or in a decision of the Fund adopted pursuant to that Article including information listed in Annex A (hereinafter information required under Article VIII, Section 5), the procedural framework set forth in paragraphs 5 through 17 below shall apply. Failure to provide information includes both the nonprovision of information and the provision of inaccurate information.
3. A member has an obligation to provide information required under Article VIII, Section 5 to the best of its ability. Therefore, there is no breach of obligation if the member is unable to provide information required under Article VIII, Section 5 or to provide more accurate information than the information it has provided. However, a member that is unable to provide final data is obligated to provide provisional data to the best of its ability until it is in a position to provide the Fund with final data. When assessing a member’s ability to provide information, the Fund will give the member the benefit of any doubt.
4. In the context of performance criteria associated with the use of the Fund’s general resources, a member may be found in breach of its obligation under Article VIII, Section 5 only if (i) it has reported that a performance criterion was met when in fact it was not, or that a performance criterion was not observed by a particular margin and it is subsequently discovered that the margin of non-observance was greater than originally reported, and (ii) a purchase was made on the basis of the information provided by the member, or the information was reported to the Executive Board in the context of a review which was subsequently completed or of a decision of the Executive Board to grant a waiver for non-observance of the relevant performance criterion.
Procedures prior to report by the Managing Director to the Executive Board
5. Whenever it appears to the Managing Director that a member is not providing information required under Article VIII, Section 5, the Managing Director shall call upon the member to provide the required information; before making a formal representation to the member, the Managing Director shall inform, and enlist the cooperation of, the Executive Director for the member. If the member persists in not providing such information and has not demonstrated to the satisfaction of the Managing Director that it is unable to provide such information, the Managing Director shall notify the member of his intention to make a report to the Executive Board under Rule K-l for breach of obligation unless, within a specified period of not less than a month, such information is provided or the member demonstrates to his satisfaction that it is unable to provide such information.
6. Whenever it appears to the Managing Director that a member has provided inaccurate data on information required under Article VIII, Section 5, the Managing Director shall consult with the member to assess whether the inaccuracy is due to a lack of capacity on the part of the member; provided however, that in de minimis cases, as defined in paragraph 1 of Decision No. 13849, the preliminary communications and consultations with the member may be conducted by the Area Department. If, after the consultation with the member, the Managing Director finds no reason to believe that the inaccuracy is due to a lack of capacity on the part of the member, he shall notify the member of his intention to make a report to the Executive Board for breach of obligation under Rule K-l unless the member demonstrates to his satisfaction within a period of not less than one month that it was unable to provide more accurate information.
7. If the Managing Director concludes that the nonprovision of information or the provision of inaccurate information is due to the member’s inability to provide the required information in a timely and accurate fashion, he may so inform the Executive Board. In that case, the Executive Board may decide to apply the provisions of paragraph 10 below.
Report by the Managing Director
8. After the expiration of the period specified in the Managing Director’s notification to the member, the Managing Director shall make a report to the Executive Board under Rule K-l for breach of obligation, unless the Managing Director is satisfied that the member’s response meets the requirements specified in his notification. The report shall identify the nature of the breach and include the member’s response (if any) to the Managing Director’s notification, and may recommend the type of remedial actions to be taken by the member.
Consideration of the report
9. Within 90 days of the issuance of the Managing Director’s report, the Executive Board will consider the report with a view to deciding whether the member has breached its obligations. Before reaching a decision, the Executive Board may request from the staff and the authorities additional clarification of the facts respecting the alleged breach of obligation; the Executive Board will specify a deadline for the provision of such clarification.
10. If the Executive Board finds that the member’s failure to provide information required under Article VIII, Section 5 is due to its inability to provide the information in a timely and accurate fashion, the Executive Board may call upon the member to strengthen its capacity to provide the required information and ask the Managing Director to report periodically on progress made by the member in that respect. The member may request technical assistance from the Fund.
11. (a) If the Executive Board finds that the member has breached its obligation, the Executive Board may call upon the member to prevent the recurrence of such a breach in the future and to take specific measures to that effect. Such measures may include the implementation of improvements in the member’s statistical systems or any other measures deemed appropriate in view of the circumstances.
(b) In addition, if the Executive Board finds that the member is still not providing the required information, the Executive Board will call upon the member to provide such information.
(c) The Executive Board will specify a deadline for taking any remedial actions specified under (a) and (b); in principle, the deadline will not exceed 90 days for actions specified under (b). The decision may note the intention of the Managing Director to recommend the issuance of a declaration of censure if the specified actions are not implemented within the specified period. In order to assist the Executive Board in identifying the appropriate actions to address a breach of obligation under Article VIII, Section 5, the member may, before the Board meeting, provide the Executive Board with a statement specifying the remedial actions it intends to take and a proposed timeframe. The member may also request technical assistance from the Fund.
(d) At the expiration of the period specified by the Executive Board, the Managing Director shall report to the Executive Board on the status of the specified actions. If the member has not taken the specified actions within the specified period, and depending on the circumstances of such failure, the Managing Director may recommend and the Executive Board may decide: (1) to extend the period before further steps under the procedural framework are taken; (2) to call upon the member to take additional remedial actions within a specified timeframe; or (3) to issue a declaration of censure against the member.
Declaration of censure
12. If a member fails to implement the actions specified by the Executive Board before the established deadline, the Managing Director may recommend and the Executive Board may decide to issue a declaration of censure. Before the adoption of a declaration of censure, the Executive Board may issue a statement to the member setting out its concerns and giving the member a specified period to respond.
13. The declaration of censure will identify the breach of obligation under Article VIII, Section 5 and the specified remedial actions the member has failed to take within the specified timeframe. The declaration may specify a new deadline for the implementation by the member of the specified remedial actions; in addition, the declaration may identify further remedial actions for the member to implement before the specified deadline. It will note that the member’s failure to implement any of the actions called for in the declaration within the specified timeframe may result in the issuance of a complaint for ineligibility under Article XXVI (a) and the imposition of this measure. At the expiration of the period specified by the Executive Board, the Managing Director shall report to the Executive Board on the status of the specified actions.
Sanctions under Article XXVI
14. Following the adoption of a declaration of censure, if the Executive Board finds that the member has failed to implement any of the actions called for in the declaration within the specified time-frame, the Managing Director may issue a complaint to the Executive Board and recommend that the Executive Board declare the member ineligible to use the general resources of the Fund for its breach of obligation under Article VIII, Section 5. The Executive Board decision declaring the member ineligible to use the general resources of the Fund will note that the member’s persistence in its failure to fulfill its obligations under Article VIII, Section 5 following the declaration of ineligibility may result in the issuance of a complaint for the suspension of the member’s voting and related rights and in the imposition of this measure.
15. If the member persists in its failure to fulfill its obligations under Article VIII, Section 5 for six months after the declaration of ineligibility, the Managing Director may issue a complaint and recommend that the Fund suspend the member’s voting and related rights. The Executive Board decision suspending the member’s voting and related rights will note that the member’s persistence in its failure to fulfill its obligations under Article VIII, Section 5 following the declaration of suspension of voting and related rights may result in the issuance of a complaint for compulsory withdrawal and in the initiation of the proceedings for the compulsory withdrawal of the member from the Fund.
16. If the member persists in its failure to fulfill its obligation under Article VIII, Section 5 for six months after the suspension of its voting rights, the Managing Director may initiate proceedings for the compulsory withdrawal of the member from the Fund.
17. All the Executive Board decisions arising from a breach of obligation taken under the procedures described above, including a decision to issue the statement of concern referred to in paragraph 12 above, will give rise to a public announcement with prior review of the text by the Executive Board.
18. (a) The following procedures shall apply to cases in which amember provides inaccurate information required under Article VIII, Section 5:
(i) for the purposes of a performance criterion under an arrangement in the General Resources Account, or
(ii) for another purpose in circumstances where the relevant information is reported to the Fund with respect to a performance criterion under an arrangement under the Poverty Reduction and Growth Facility or the Exogenous Shocks Facility, or an assessment criterion under a Policy Support Instrument, and understandings have been reached between Fund staff and the relevant member that such reporting shall be made not only for the purposes of the relevant arrangement or instrument but for such other purposes as well, and where the deviation from the relevant performance criterion or assessment criterion, as the case may be, is judged to be de minimis as defined in paragraph 1 of Decision No. 13849.
(b) Whenever the Managing Director considers a deviation described in paragraph 18 (a) to be de minimis in nature:
(i) the consultations and notifications contemplated in paragraph 6 may be made by a representative of the relevant Area Department, and
(ii) the report of the Managing Director contemplated in paragraph 8 shall, wherever possible, be included in a staff report on the relevant member that deals with issues other than the potential breach of Article VIII, Section 5 and, with respect to potential remedial actions for such breach of obligation, shall include a recommendation that no further action by taken by the Fund. In those rare cases in which such a document cannot be issued to the Board promptly after the Managing Director concludes that a breach of obligation under Article VIII, Section 5 has arisen, the Managing Director shall consult Executive Directors and, if deemed appropriate by the Managing Director, a stand-alone report under Rule K-1 will be prepared for consideration by the Executive Board normally on a lapse-of-time basis.
(c) Whenever the Executive Board, under paragraph 1l(a), finds that a breach of obligation under Article VIII, Section 5 has occurred but that the relevant deviation was de minimis in nature as defined in paragraph 1 of Decision No. 13849,
(i) the Executive Board shall decide that no further action be taken by the Fund with respect to the breach, and
(ii) under paragraph 17, the finding of breach of obligation shall not be published by the Fund.
The data referred to in paragraph 1 of this decision are the national data on the following matters:
(i) reserve, or base money;
(ii) broad money;
(iii) interest rates, both market-based and officially-determined, including discount rates, money market rates, rates on treasury bills, notes and bonds;
(iv) revenue, expenditure, balance and composition of financing (i.e., foreign financing and domestic bank and nonbank financing) for the general and central governments respectively1; the stocks of central government and central government-guaranteed debt, including currency and maturity composition and, if the debt data are amenable to classification on the basis of the residency or nonresidency of the holder, the extent to which the debt is held by residents or non-residents;
(v) balance sheet of the central bank;
(vi) external current account balance;
(vii) exports and imports of goods and services;
(viii) the international reserve assets and reserves liabilities of the monetary authorities, specifying separately any reserve assets which are pledged or otherwise encumbered as well as net derivative positions;
(ix) gross domestic product, or gross national product;
(x) consumer price index;
(xi) gross external debt2; and
(xii) consolidated balance sheet of the banking system.
Decision No. 13183-(04/10),
January 30, 2004,
as amended by Decision Nos.13814-(06/98), November 15, 2006, and
December 20, 2006
Summing Up by the Acting Chairman—Standards for the Dissemination of Economic and Financial Statistics to the Public by Member Countries and Implementation of the SDDS Executive Board Meeting 96/36, April 12, 1996
Executive Directors noted that the Interim Committee, in its communiqué of October 8, 1995, had endorsed the establishment by the Fund of standards to guide members in the publication of their economic and financial data. Those standards would consist of two tiers: a general standard, and a more demanding standard, now designated as the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS). They recalled that the Interim Committee had requested that Fund members have the opportunity to subscribe to the SDDS by the time of the April 1996 Interim Committee meeting and were gratified that this objective would be achieved. Directors also appreciated the speedy staff work that had gone into the data dissemination initiative and the widespread consultation with users and producers of statistics, national authorities, and other international organizations that had been undertaken in preparation of the specific staff proposals.
Directors recalled their earlier approval, at the meeting of March 29, 1996, of the SDDS and of its immediate opening for subscription on a voluntary basis. They recognized that the establishment of the SDDS was an important step for the Fund and for its membership. Directors emphasized that in the initial phase the approach to its implementation would inevitably need to be both flexible and evolutionary.
Directors discussed the elaborations proposed by the staff regarding the timeliness of foreign trade data, the periodicity of foreign reserves data, some flexibility for release calendars, and procedures in case of possible non-observance of the SDDS. In light of the above considerations, the Executive Board approved those elaborations to the SDDS, whose scope and operational characteristics are set forth in the Annex to this summing up.
Executive Directors took note that a significant number of member countries had provided indications of their intention to subscribe to the SDDS and agreed that the electronic Data Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) should be open to the public by the end of August 1996. Directors also welcomed the preparation by the staff of an operations manual that would soon become available.
Directors observed that the SDDS was ambitious. At the same time, they welcomed the several aspects of flexibility built into the standard. They also noted that reviews of the operation of, and experience with, the SDDS would provide the opportunity to make adjustments that might be called for as experience accumulated through the transition period that would end at the close of 1998.
Directors agreed that invitations for subscription should be sent by the Managing Director as soon as possible. The package of materials would comprise a communication from the Managing Director, and, to be sent separately, this summing up with its Annex, and a paper entitled the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SM/96/83, Sup. 2, 4/15/96, to be circulated).
Directors called for work to continue on the elaboration of the general data dissemination standard for Board consideration before the end of 1996. They also called for a review of the operation of the special and general data dissemination standards by the end of 1997, and another review before the completion of the transition period at the end of 1998.
Scope and Operational Characteristics of the Special Data Dissemination Standard
I. Purpose and Framework
The purpose of the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) is to guide member countries in the provision to the public of comprehensive, timely, accessible, and reliable economic and financial statistics in a world of increasing economic and financial integration. The SDDS thus comprises four dimensions: (a) coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of data; (b) access by the public; (c) integrity of the disseminated data; and (d) quality of the disseminated data. For each of the four dimensions, the SDDS prescribes good practices that can be observed, or monitored, by users of statistics.
II. Dimensions of the SDDS
1. Coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of data
Comprehensive economic and financial data, disseminated on a timely basis, are essential to the transparency of macroeconomic performance and policy.
(A) Definitions and general considerations
In respect of coverage, the SDDS focuses on basic data that are most important in shedding light on economic performance and policy in four sectors across the economy—real, fiscal, financial, and external. The SDDS focuses on the minimum coverage necessary, but countries are encouraged to disseminate other data that may increase the transparency of economic performance and policy in general and for their own economic and financial situations in particular. For example, subscribers may take advantage of the possibility to provide—on a strictly voluntary basis—additional metadata to promote public knowledge and understanding of their practices with respect to measuring core inflation, forward-looking indicators, and interest rates used as operating targets.
For each of the four sectors, the SDDS provides:
(a) a comprehensive statistical framework—national accounts for the real sector, government operations for fiscal data, analytical accounts of the banking system for financial data, and balance of payments accounts for external transactions;
(b) data that permit tracking of the principal measures in the comprehensive frameworks; and
(c) other data relevant to the sector.
These other data are often in the form of a price, including interest rates and exchange rates. The comprehensive frameworks and tracking categories are indicated in the attached Table 1.
|Prescribed||Encouraged categories and/or Components|
|National accounts: nominal, real, and associated prices*||GDP by major expenditure category and/or by productive sector||Saving, grossnationalincome||Q||Q|
|Production index/indices #||Industrial, primary commodity, or sector, as relevant||M (or as relevant)||6W (M encouraged, or as relevant)|
|Forward-looking indicator(s), e.g., qualitative business surveys, orders, composite leading indicators index||M or Q||M or Q|
|Labor market||Employment, unemployment, and wages/earnings, as relevant||Q||Q|
|Price indices||Consumer prices and producer or wholesale prices||M||M|
|General government or public sector operations, as relevant *||Revenue, expenditure, balance, and domestic (bank and non-bank) and foreign financing||Interest payments||A 1/||2Q 1/|
|Central government operations #||Budgetary accounts: revenue, expenditure, balance, and domestic (bank and nonbank) and foreign financing||Interest payments||M||M 1/|
|Central government debt||Domestic and foreign, as relevant, with a breakdown by currency (including indexed), as relevant, and a breakdown by maturity; debt guaranteed by central government, as relevant||Debt service projections: interest and amortization on medium and long-term debt (Q for next 4 quarters and then A) and amortization on short-term debt(Q)||Q||Q|
|Analytical accounts of the banking sector *||Money aggregates, domestic credit by public and private sector, external position||M||M|
|Analytical accounts of the central bank #||Reserve money, domestic claims on public and private sector, external position||M (W encouraged)||2W (W encouraged)|
|Interest rates||Short-term and long-term government security rates, policy variable rate||Range of representative deposit and lending rates||D||2/|
|Stock market||Share price index, as relevant||D||2/|
|Balance of payments*||Goods and services, net income flows, net current transfers, selected capital (or capital and financial) account items (including reserves)||Foreign direct investment and portfolio investment||Q||Q|
|International reserves, reserve liabilities, and related items #||Reserve assets (gold, foreign exchange, SDRs, and Fund position); other foreign currency assets; contingent short-term drains on foreign currency assets; and related items 3/||See the Pro Memoria component in Section III, item 4 of Table 2||M (W encouraged)||W for total official reserve assets; M for all other items|
|Merchandise trade #||Exports and imports||Major commodity breakdowns with longer time lapse||M||8W (4-6W encouraged)|
|International investment position||See text of Annex||A (Q encouraged)||3Q (Q encouraged)|
|External debt statistics||See text of Annex||See text of Annex||Q||Q|
|Exchange rates||Spot rates and 3-and 6-month forward market rates, as relevant||D||2/|
|Addendum: Population||Key distributions e.g., by age and sex||A||…|
(ii) Periodicity and timeliness
Periodicity refers to the frequency of compilation of the data. Timeliness refers to the speed of dissemination of the data—i.e., the lapse of time between a reference date (or close of a reference period) and dissemination of the data. Dissemination of statistics may take several forms, including: formal publications (including news releases); announcement of availability on request (but not necessarily without charge), including through electronic databases; diskettes, tapes, or CD-ROM of a formal publication or a database; and recorded telephone messages and facsimile services.
The SDDS specifications for coverage, periodicity, and timeliness are summarized in the attached Table 1. Further specifications which apply to international reserves, reserve liabilities and related items are set out in the attached Table 2. Where the coverage components, periodicity, or timeliness is to be provided on an “as relevant” basis, subscribing members would have the flexibility to take an approach that is the most relevant to their respective circumstances. Where the coverage components, periodicity, or timeliness is designated as “encouraged,” that feature would not be binding under the SDDS, but countries are encouraged to develop and disseminate such data categories in the indicated periodicity and timeliness.
The prescribed comprehensive statistical framework for the real sector is the national accounts, consisting of nominal levels, real (price-adjusted) levels, and associated prices (deflators or price indices). The data category intended to track GDP on a more frequent basis is a single production index or a selection of production indices. For price statistics, consumer price indices and producer or wholesale price indices are prescribed.
For the fiscal sector, the prescribed comprehensive statistical framework covers the general (central plus state or provincial and local) government or the public sector, depending on which coverage is the focus of policy and analysis in a particular country. As more frequent and timely tracking indicators of fiscal stance, central government indicators are prescribed. Data for government debt are prescribed in terms of central government debt.
For the financial sector, the prescribed comprehensive statistical framework is the analytical accounts of the banking system. Data should cover all units of the system that are included in principal national measures of money aggregates (such as M2 or M3). The data category prescribed to track banking system data on a more timely basis is the central bank analytical accounts. Interest rates should include rates on short- and long-term government securities as appropriate to the country.
For the external sector, balance of payments data are the prescribed comprehensive statistical framework. On a more frequent and timely basis, international reserves, reserve liabilities and related items, and merchandise trade are called for as tracking categories. Dissemination of monthly total official reserve assets within one week is prescribed, and the dissemination of most reserves-related data required in Table 2 is prescribed with monthly periodicity and timeliness, with weekly periodicity and timeliness encouraged. Countries that wish to have their data on reserves and related items included in the Fund’s database and re-disseminated over the Fund’s external web site should report such data in the format of Table 3 [Ed. Note: Table 3 is not included in this volume]. With respect to the international investment position, annual data (encompassing components consistent with the IMF Balance of Payments Manual (5th Ed.)) are to be disseminated within two-three quarters of the end of the reference year, with quarterly periodicity and timeliness encouraged. Exchange rates should be disseminated on a daily basis, as should forward exchange rates (three- and six-month rates) on an “as relevant” basis if a robust forward market exists. There is also a separate data category for external debt, with data covering four sector categories: (1) the general government, (2) the monetary authorities, (3) the banking sector, and (4) all other sectors. These data are to be disseminated with quarterly periodicity and timeliness. Data should also be broken down by maturity—short and long-term—on an original maturity basis and by instrument, as set out in the IMF Balance of Payments Manual (5th Ed.). In addition, the SDDS encourages the dissemination of supplementary information on future debt service payments, in which the principal and interest components are separately identified, twice yearly for the first four quarters and the following two semesters ahead, with a lag of one quarter. The data should also be broken down into sectors—general government, monetary authorities, the banking sector, and other sectors. Finally, the dissemination of a domestic/foreign currency breakdown of external debt with quarterly periodicity and timeliness is encouraged.
Under the SDDS, a member that does not produce or disseminate data categories/components designated “as relevant” would nevertheless be deemed to be in observance of the coverage specifications of the SDDS. In addition, a member may take either or both of two flexibility options in respect of periodicity and timeliness. First, for the national accounts and balance of payments, although the quarterly specification for periodicity must be met, the specified data may be issued on a less timely basis than prescribed in the event that the data category or categories indicated as tracking the principal measures in these comprehensive statistical frameworks are disseminated with the periodicity and timeliness prescribed for the tracking categories. Second, for any other two prescribed data categories, except international reserves and external debt, periodicity may be less frequent and/or the specified data may be issued on a less timely basis than prescribed. In addition. subscribers may exercise a targeted flexibility option for the timeliness of monthly central government operations that is available for subscribers disseminating, with a one-quarter lag. quarterly accrual-based general government operations (GGO) data in line with the Fund’s Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 or an equivalent standard. This targeted flexibility option would be allowed for the last month of the fiscal year (up to three months lag) and the first month of the new fiscal year (up to two months lag). In order to make use of this flexibility option, a subscriber would need to begin disseminating quarterly GGO data for at least the last quarter of the fiscal year in which the option is exercised. For those subscribers availing themselves of the targeted flexibility option, a 12-month transition period has been established through end-November 2004 during which time the periodicity and timeliness of central government and general government operations data could be on a “best-effort” basis.
2. Access by the public
Dissemination of official statistics is an essential feature of statistics as a public good. Ready and equal access is a principal requirement for the public, including market participants.
To support ready and equal access, the SDDS prescribes:
(a) Advance dissemination of release calendars, with flexibility for the distribution of the release dates for up to two data categories; and
(b) Simultaneous release to all interested parties.
To fulfill the purpose of providing the public with information, official statistics must have the confidence of their users. In turn, confidence in the statistics ultimately becomes a matter of confidence in the objectivity and professionalism of the agency producing the statistics. Transparency of its practices and procedures is a key factor in creating this confidence. To assist users of the data disseminated under the SDDS in assessing their integrity, the SDDS prescribes:
(a) the dissemination of the terms and conditions under which official statistics are produced, including those relating to the confidentiality of individually identifiable information;
(b) the identification of internal government access to data before release;
(c) the identification of ministerial commentary on the occasion of statistical release; and
(d) the provision of information about revision and advance notice of major changes in methodology.
A set of standards that deals with coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of data must also address the quality of statistics. Although quality is difficult to judge, monitorable proxies, designed to focus on information the user needs to judge quality, can be useful. To assist users of the data disseminated under the SDDS in assessing their quality, the SDDS prescribes:
(a) the dissemination of documentation on methodology and sources used in preparing statistics; and
(b) the dissemination of component detail, reconciliations with related data, and statistical frameworks that support statistical cross-checks and provide assurance of reasonableness.
III. Implementation of the SDDS
1. Subscription to the SDDS
Subscription to the SDDS by members of the Fund is on a voluntary basis. Members that wish to subscribe to the SDDS should first communicate this intention to the staff of the Fund, with an undertaking to provide to the staff information describing its data dissemination practices, i.e. metadata, (other than the summary descriptions of methodology) as soon as possible.
Upon receipt of the necessary metadata from a member, the Fund’s staff would work with the member to determine where its practices stood with respect to the SDDS as well as to identify any changes in practices that would be needed. If no changes were needed, the member may proceed to inform the Secretary of the Fund of its subscription to the SDDS. If changes to a member’s practices are required, the member may, after the necessary changes have been discussed with the Fund’s staff and implemented, proceed to inform the Secretary of the Fund of its subscription to the SDDS. In this regard, a member may make known publicly its intent to improve its data and dissemination practices with the goal of subscribing to the SDDS.
In all cases, the Fund’s public identification of a member’s subscription to the SDDS will be made through the posting of the member’s metadata on the Dissemination Standard Bulletin Board (“DSBB”; see section III.2 below). Within three months of the posting of the member’s metadata on the DSBB, the member would need to provide to the Fund’s staff the summary descriptions of methodology called for under the SDDS.
2. Dissemination Standard Bulletin Board
As a cornerstone of the implementation of the SDDS, the Fund will, as a service to its members, establish and maintain an electronic Dissemination Standard Bulletin Board (DSBB) on the Internet. The DSBB will identify the members subscribing to the SDDS and provide wide and easy access to the members’ respective metadata. The responsibility for the accuracy of the metadata and of the economic and financial statistics underlying the metadata rests with member countries.
Subscribers to the SDDS are required to establish a national summary data page on the Internet which will be linked to the DSBB electronically through “hyperlinks” on the latter.1 The national summary data page would contain, at a minimum, the most recent observation for the prescribed data category and the next most recent observation, and could also contain additional information. Responsibility for the data on the national summary data page rests with individual subscribers.
3. Observance of the SDDS and Removal from the DSBB
Subscribers to the SDDS are expected to observe the elements of its four dimensions described in section II above. Deviations of any kind from SDDS undertakings would be brought immediately to the attention of the subscriber. Subsequent steps for dealing with such deviations would follow a graduated approach that distinguishes between minor and serious deviations.
The Fund’s staff would continuously monitor the observance by subscribers of the requirements of the data dimension (section II.1 above) and the advance release calendars element of the access dimension (section II.2.(a) above). In cases of nonobservance of the practices prescribed for these items, the Fund’s staff would try to resolve the issue with the subscriber, at first directly, and then, if necessary, through the Executive Director representing the subscriber in the Fund. If these efforts failed to produce a satisfactory solution, the matter would be brought to the attention of the subscriber’s Governor for the Fund. At the same time, the Fund’s staff could post a note on the DSBB indicating that the Fund’s staff has determined that the subscriber was not in observance of its undertakings under the SDDS. The note would also describe the problem, the subscriber’s response to the problem and the efforts underway to remedy it. If the problem persisted thereafter without the subscriber taking satisfactory corrective measures, the matter would be referred to the Executive Board of the Fund, which could decide to delete the metadata of that subscriber from the DSBB.
More generally, subscribers are required to certify, on a quarterly basis, the accuracy of the metadata posted on the DSBB. Under this process, subscribers will notify the Fund’s staff, within three working days1 of the end of each calendar quarter, that either: (1) all of the metadata posted on the DSBB are fully accurate; or (2) certain metadata are inaccurate. In the latter case, subscribers would need to provide the corrected metadata within a further five working days. The DSBB will post the date on which the metadata were last certified by the subscriber. If a subscriber failed to meet this certification requirement for two successive certification dates, the Executive Director representing the subscriber in the Fund would be approached to help resolve the issue. Thereafter, the steps described in the preceding paragraph for dealing with nonobservance of the requirements of the data dimension and the advance release calendars element of the access dimension of the SDDS would be followed in addressing a failure to observe the quarterly certification requirement.
There may be situations where a subscriber, during the period between certification dates for the metadata, makes changes to its practices that affect the accuracy of the metadata posted on the DSBB. In such situations, the subscriber should inform the Fund’s staff of these changes, and they would work together to amend the affected metadata expeditiously. In any event, subscribers would be required to provide the revised metadata at the time of the next quarterly certification. Pending revision of the metadata on the DSBB, a note may be posted on the DSBB indicating that the metadata in question were in the process of being updated.
Finally, an annual report that assesses each subscribing member’s observance of its undertakings under the SDDS will be posted on the DSBB.
4. Review, Revisions, and Withdrawal
Reviews of the SDDS will be conducted by the Fund at intervals determined by the Executive Board of the Fund. At the completion of these reviews, revisions of the SDDS may be adopted.1 A member may withdraw its subscription to the SDDS at any time by sending a notification to the Managing Director of the Fund. The relevant metadata would be removed promptly from the DSBB.
Summing Up by the Acting Chairman—General Data Dissemination System(Executive Board Meeting 97/125, December 19, 1997)
Executive Directors welcomed the report provided in SM/97/275 and the staff proposal for the establishment of the General Data Dissemination System (GDDS). They recognized that the establishment of the GDDS was an important step for all Fund members not only in providing guidance in the provision of data to the public, but also in encouraging improvements in the quality and accessibility of economic, financial, and socio-demographic data.
In light of the above considerations, the Executive Board approved today the establishment of the GDDS, whose scope, operational characteristics, and mode of implementation are set forth in the revised draft Annex V of SM/97/275, Correction 1.
Executive Directors generally agreed with the purposes and orientation of the GDDS. In particular, Directors supported a system that recognized that for many countries improvements in data quality were a necessary precursor to enhanced dissemination of data to the public. The GDDS was seen as a useful framework for development of a broad range of statistics, including major macroeconomic and financial data, as well as socio-demographic indicators.
Directors endorsed the staff’s proposals concerning implementation by countries of the General System. They agreed that participation in the GDDS should be voluntary, and they supported the three elements of participation: commitment to use the GDDS as a framework for statistical development; designation of a country coordinator to work with the Fund; and development of metadata. The metadata were considered important as a means for identifying strengths and weaknesses in existing data systems, developing plans for improving data, and providing users with a means for assessing countries’ practices and developmental plans against the objectives recommended by the General System. As the GDDS was recognized as a long-term exercise for many countries, the metadata were also seen as useful for tracking counties’ improvements over time. The recommendation in the GDDS to focus primarily on a set of core frameworks and indicators, supplemented by encouraged data systems and categories, was viewed as useful, as it made the General System relevant to a very broad range of countries and provided a clear set of links between the GDDS and the SDDS. These links would be particularly helpful to countries that wished to use participation in the GDDS as a step toward subscription to the SDDS.
A few Directors suggested a number of additions to the core data specifications of the GDDS, including in the areas of national accounts, and more fiscal data, including off-budget transactions, and the accounts of local and regional governments. The staff will explore these suggestions and report in the context of the next review of the GDDS.
Most Directors supported inclusion in the GDDS of a set of sock-demographic indicators because of the importance of these data in assessing economic developments in many of the likely participating countries. However, some Directors reiterated that the responsibility for development of social indicators should be left primarily to other international organizations, and some expressed doubts regarding the appropriateness of inclusion of these data in the GDDS. Directors agreed that there should be close cooperation with regional and other international organizations.
Directors acknowledged the importance of the access and integrity dimensions of the GDDS, as aspects of openness and transparency. The principles embodied in these dimensions were not yet standard practice in many countries, and it was therefore considered appropriate that the GDDS focus on the development of these dimensions in the practices of data compiling and disseminating agencies.
Most Directors supported a phased approach to the implementation of the GDDS that focused first on education and training through development of appropriate documentation and presentation of seminars and workshops. It was recognized that the GDDS was a very ambitious project, both for the Fund and for countries that might wish to participate, and many Directors agreed that a longer-term approach to implementation was appropriate in recognition of the substantial resource costs to the Fund and the resource costs to, and absorptive capacity of, participating countries.
Executive Directors agreed with the staff’s proposal to begin the compilation of metadata on participating countries’ statistical practices and plans for improvement. Most Directors endorsed the proposal that the Fund disseminate these metadata to the public through an electronic bulletin board, as the most efficient means. However, Directors agreed not to preclude other means of communication, given the different situations of members. Directors also pointed out the need to clearly distinguish between the bulletin boards for the GDDS and the SDDS.
The General Data Dissemination System
1. The General Data Dissemination System’s (the System) objectives, comprising four dimensions of good practices in data production and dissemination, are set out in Section I, and the System’s mechanism of implementation is set out in Section II.
I. The System: Objectives
2. The System’s purposes are (1) to encourage member countries to improve data quality; (2) to provide a framework for evaluating needs for data improvement and setting priorities in this respect; and (3) to guide member countries in the provision to the public of comprehensive, timely, accessible, and reliable economic, financial, and socio-demographic statistics in a world of increasing economic and financial integration. The guidance comprises four dimensions:
The data: coverage, periodicity, and timeliness
Quality of the disseminated data
Integrity of the disseminated data
Access by the public
3. For each of the four dimensions, the System describes two to four good practices to serve as objectives in the development of national systems of data production and dissemination. Box 1 provides an overview of the four dimensions and these elements.
1. The data: coverage, periodicity, and timeliness
Production and dissemination of reliable, comprehensive, and timely economic, financial, and socio-demographic data is essential to the transparency of macroeconomic performance and policy.
a. Definitions and general considerations
4. The System focuses on the data that are most important in evaluating performance and policy in four macroeconomic sectors—real, fiscal, financial, and external—as well as complementary socio-demographic data that shed light on economic development and structural change. The socio-demographic data as specified under the GDDS are closely aligned with the majority of the indicators used to monitor progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG)1. The GDDS also covers most of the indicators used to monitor progress on national poverty reduction strategies. The System addresses the development and dissemination of economic, financial, and socio-demographic data: (1) presenting objectives for the development and dissemination of comprehensive frameworks in each of the four macroeconomic and financial sectors; (2) encouraging the development and dissemination of macroeconomic and financial indicators of appropriate periodicity and timeliness reflecting countries’ needs and abilities; and (3) encouraging the development and dissemination of basic components for socio-demographic data of appropriate periodicity and timeliness. Table 1 presents these three aspects of the data dimension.
A. Comprehensive Frameworks—Macroeconomic and Financial Sectors
|Framework||Coverage, classification, and analytical framework|
|National Accounts||Producing and disseminating the full range of national accounts aggregates and balancing items in nominal and real terms, yielding Gross Domestic Product, Gross National Income, Gross Disposable Income, Consumption, Saving, Capital Formation, and Net Lending/Net Borrowing. Producing and disseminating sectoral accounts and national and sectoral balance sheets, as relevant.||Annual||6-9 months|
|Central government operations||Producing and disseminating comprehensive data on transactions and debt, emphasizing (1) coverage of all central government units; (2) use of appropriate analytical framework; and (3) development of a full range of detailed classifications (tax and nontax revenue, current and capital expenditure, domestic and foreign financing) with breakdowns (debt holder, instrument, currency), as relevant.||General government or public sector operations data, strongly encouraged where sub-national levels of government or public enterprise operations are of analytical or policy importance||Annual||2-3 months|
|Depository corporations survey||Producing and disseminating comprehensive data emphasizing (1) coverage of all depository corporations (banking institutions); (2) use of an appropriate analytical framework; and (3) development of classifications of external assets and liabilities, domestic credit by sector, and components of money (liquidity) and non-monetary liabilities.||Monthly||10-14 months|
|Balance of payments||Producing and disseminating comprehensive data on the main aggregates and balancing items of the balance of payments, including e.g., imports and exports of goods and services, trade balance, income and current transfers, current account balance, reserves and other financial transactions, and overall balance, with detailed components, as relevant.||International Investment Position (IIP)||Annual||6-9 months|
B. Data Categories and Indicators—Macroeconomic and Financial Sectors
|National accounts aggregates||GDP (nominal and real)||Gross national income, capital formation, saving||Annual (quarterly encouraged)||6-9 months|
|Production index/indices||Manufacturing or industrial indices|
Primary commodity, agricultural, or other indices, as relevant
|6-12 weeks for all indices|
|Price indices||Consumer price index||Producer price index||Monthly||1-2 months|
|Labor market indicators||Employment, unemployment, wages/earnings, as relevant||Disaggregation by age, sex, employment status, occupation and industry as appropriate||Annual||6-9 months|
|Central government aggregates||Revenue, expenditure, balance, and financing with breakdowns (debt holder, instrument, currency) as relevant||Interest payments||Quarterly||1 quarter|
|Central government debt||Domestic debt and foreign debt, as relevant, with appropriate breakdowns (currency, maturity, debt holder, instrument), as relevant||Government guaranteed debt||Annual(quarterlyencouraged)||1-2 quarters|
|Broad money and credit aggregates||Net external position, domestic credit, broad or narrow money||Monthly||1-3 months|
|Central bank aggregates||Monetary base||Monthly||1-2 months|
|Interest rates||Short and long-term government security rates, policy variable rate||Money or interbank rates and a range of deposit and lending rates||Monthly|
|Stock market||Share price index, as relevant||Monthly|
|Balance of payments aggregates||Imports and exports of goods and services, current account balance, reserves, overall balance||Annual (quarterly strongly encouraged)||6 months|
|External debt and debt service schedule||Public and publicly guaranteed external debt, broken down by maturity||Quarterly||1-2 quarters|
|Public and publicly guaranteed external debt service schedule||Twice yearly with data for 4 quarters and 2 semesters ahead||3-6 months|
|Private external debt not publicly guaranteed, and debt service schedule||Annual||6-9 months|
|International reserves||Gross official reserves denominated in U.S. dollars||Reserve-related liabilities||Monthly||1-4 weeks|
|Merchandise trade||Total exports and total imports||Major commodity breakdowns||Monthly||8-12 weeks|
|Exchange rates||Spot rates||Daily|
C. Socio-Demographic Data
|Data categories||Basic components||Encouraged|
|Related indicators of Millennium Development Goals1||Periodicity||Timeliness|
|Population||Population characteristics: size and composition of the population, derived from census, surveys, or vital registration system||Disaggregation of population and vital statistics data by age, sex, and region, as appropriate||Annual (Census every ten years)||3-6months for annual updates; 9-12 months for Census|
|Dynamics of growth: vital statistics: births, deaths and migration||Reporting of mortality rates, crude birth rate, fertility rate, and life expectancy||13. Under-five mortality rate|
14. Infant mortality rate
|Education||Inputs: measures of current financial, human, and physical resources available to public and private (if significant) educational institutions, recorded by level of education or type of program||Disaggregation of data by region is recommended for all data categories. Characteristics of teaching staff, including training, experience, and terms of employment (full or part time). Expenditures by households on education (including fees and other expenses for public or private education)||Annual||6-12months following beginning of school year|
|Process: measures of student progress through school, such as enrollments, dropouts, and repetitions, recorded by level of education and sex of students||Calculation of net enrollment rates (by grade and sex)||6. Net enrolment ratio in primary education7. Proportion of pupils starting grade 1 who reach grade 59. Ratio of girls to boys in primary, secondary, and tertiary education|
|Outcomes: educational attainment measured by progress through school, graduations, and completions by level; literacy||Disaggregation by age and sex. Graduation and completion rates. Scores on standardized achievement exams||8. Literacy rate of 15-24-year olds10. Ratio of literate women to men of 1524-year olds|
|Health||Inputs: measures of current financial, human, and physical resources available to public and private (if available) health system, including public expenditures on health services; capacity of health care facilities by location and type of facility, and the number of trained personnel by location and certification||Private (household) expenditures on health services. Dis-aggregation of data by region||Annual(outbreaks of contagious diseases should be reported at higher frequency and with greater timeliness)||3-6months following end of reference period|
|Process (service delivery): Measures describing the number of clients served and type of care provided by public and private care providers, including inpatient, outpatient, and preventative care; population served by public health services such as immunizations, sanitation services, and improved water supply||Measures of the responsiveness of the health system to nonhealth aspects of service delivery. Disaggregation of data by region.||15. Proportion of 1-year old children immunized against measles|
17. Proportion of births attended by skilled health personnel
19. Condom use rate of the contraceptive prevalence rate
22. Proportion of population in malaria risk areas using effective malaria prevention and treatment measures
24. Proportion of tuberculosis cases detected and cured under directly observed treatment short course
30. Proportion of population with sustainable access to an improved water source, urban and rural
31. Proportion of urban population with access to improved sanitation
|Outcomes: statistics on mortality and morbidity, including mortality by cause and the incidence of disease by age, sex, region and other patient characteristics||4. Prevalence of underweight children under five years of age|
16. Maternal mortality ratio
18. HIV prevalence among 15-24-year old pregnant women
|20. Number of children orphaned by HIV/AIDS|
21. Prevalence and death rates associated with malaria
23. Prevalence and death rates associated with tuberculosis
|Poverty||Income poverty: number and proportion of people or households with less than minimum standard of income or consumption; valuation of minimum consumption bundle||Measures of the distribution of household or per capita income or consumption, and incidence of low consumption||1. Proportion of population below $1 (PPP) per day|
2. Poverty gap ratio (incidence x depth of poverty)
3. Share of poorest quin-tile in national consumption
|3-5 years||6-12 months following the survey|
|Other poverty measures: measures of deprivation or insecurity used to identify the population living in poverty, such as evidence of malnutrition, endemic diseases, educational achievement, and lack of access to basic services||Separate poverty estimates for urban and rural populations or for major regions, states, or provinces. Dis-aggregation of data by region.|Box 1.The Four Dimensions of the GDDS
1. The Data—Coverage, Periodicity, and Timeliness: Dissemination of reliable, comprehensive, and timely economic, financial, and socio-demographic data is essential to the transparency of macroeconomic performance and policy.
The GDDS therefore recommends dissemination of data as described in Table 1.
2. Quality: Data quality must have a high priority. Data users must be provided with information to assess quality and quality improvements. The GDDS recommends:
Dissemination of documentation on methodology and sources used in preparing statistics.
Dissemination of component detail, reconciliations with related data, and statistical frameworks that support statistical cross-checks and provide assurance of reasonableness.
3. Integrity: To fulfill the purpose of providing the public with information, official statistics must have the confidence of their users. In turn, confidence in the statistics ultimately becomes a matter of confidence in the objectivity and professionalism of the agency producing the statistics. Transparency of practices and procedures is a key factor in creating this confidence. The GDDS therefore recommends:
Dissemination of the terms and conditions under which official statistics are produced, including those relating to the confidentiality of individually identifiable information.
Identification of internal government access to data before release.
Identification of ministerial commentary on the occasion of statistical releases.
Provision of information about revisions and advance notice of major changes in methodology.
4. Access by the public: Dissemination of official statistics is an essential feature of statistics as a public good. Ready and equal access by the public are principal requirements. The GDDS recommends:
Dissemination of advance release calendars.
Simultaneous release to all interested parties.
5. With regard to comprehensive frameworks, Section A of Table 1 presents a set of objectives for national accounts (real sector), central government operations (fiscal sector), the depository corporations survey (financial sector), and balance of payments accounts (external sector). The objectives emphasize the development, production, and dissemination of full-coverage data in each framework, the use of appropriate analytical frameworks following international standards, and the development of detailed aggregates and classifications. In the areas of government operations and balance of payments, extensions of coverage are encouraged.
6. With regard to indicators, Section B of Table 1 provides for each macroeconomic sector (1) core indicators for the comprehensive frameworks—GDP for national accounts, central government aggregates for central government operations, broad money and credit aggregates for the depository corporations survey, and balance of payments aggregates for the complete balance of payments; (2) additional data that permit tracking of the principal measures in the comprehensive frameworks; and (3) other data relevant to the macroeconomic sector. The so-called other data are often in the form of a price, including interest rates and exchange rates. For certain data categories, additional aggregates and/or 1 components are encouraged. With regard to basic components, Section C of Table 1 outlines the basic components of socio-demographic data, within the data categories of population, health, education, and poverty, together with encouraged extensions. These socio-demographic data categories are closely related to the majority of the 35 MDG indictors that are derived from national statistical systems. The basic components or the encouraged extensions of the four socio-demographic data categories are linked to 23 of the 35 MDG indicators.
7. The System emphasizes development of comprehensive frameworks, but does not specify in detail the component breakdowns of these frameworks to be produced and disseminated. Internationally accepted aggregates and balancing items are recommended. In the case of national accounts, financial sector statistics, and balance of payments statistics, the 1993 System of National Accounts (1993 SNA), the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001), the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual 2000 (MFSM 2000), and the fifth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual (BPM5) are widely accepted standards and provide appropriate guidance for the development of frameworks and aggregates.
8. Most of the data categories identified for inclusion in the System are produced by official national agencies. The inclusion in the System of some data categories that are produced by private organizations (at least in some countries) introduces some complexities, including the implicit stamp of quality that is given by official re-publishing. The inclusion of privately compiled data is warranted in the interest of obtaining a more complete picture of the economy and more consistent coverage across countries. However, including them requires some adaptation in the responsibilities that the official (disseminating) agency has with respect to some elements of access by the public, integrity, and data quality.
(2) Periodicity and timeliness
9. The System recognizes the importance of production and dissemination of data that are of appropriately high periodicity and timeliness, but attaches priority to improvements in data quality, in recognition of the tradeoffs that may exist in still-developing statistical systems between improving data quality on the one hand and periodicity and timeliness on the other.
10. Periodicity refers to the frequency of compilation of the data. The periodicity of a particular data category is determined by several factors, including the ease of observation or compilation and the needs of analysis. The System should be viewed as encouraging improvements over time in periodicity of data dissemination that are consistent with improvements in data quality.
11. Timeliness refers to the speed of dissemination of the data—i.e., the lapse of time between a reference date (or close of a reference period) and dissemination of the data. It reflects many factors, including some related to institutional arrangements, such as the preparation of accompanying commentary and printing. Dissemination of statistics takes several forms, among them,
providing a formal publication, such as news releases (perhaps presenting only summary statistics), periodicals such as monthly bulletins, or one-time volumes;
announcing the availability of statistics on request (but not necessarily without charge), increasingly pointing to electronic databases;
providing a diskette, tape, or CD-ROM version of a formal publication or a database;
providing brief recorded telephone messages and fax services, especially in the case of data categories justifying high-frequency distribution.
12. The objectives for timeliness that are presented in Table 1 are set out in terms of ranges of time in recognition of the diversity of countries covered by the System. The short end of the timeliness range corresponds to the Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) timeliness requirements for a given indicator while the high end of the range relates to good practice across a broad group of countries. The System should be viewed as encouraging improvements over time in the timeliness of data dissemination that are consistent with improvements in data quality.
b. The specifications
13. The System provides objectives for data production and dissemination for both comprehensive frameworks and other data categories and indicators; these are summarized in Table 1.
(1) Comprehensive frameworks (macroeconomic and financial sectors)
14. With regard to the comprehensive frameworks described in Section A of the table, the objective is to encourage the production and dissemination of complete sets of data with widest coverage, using appropriate analytical frameworks and classification schemes. Particular aggregates and balances are provided for illustration, but the emphasis is placed on complete data sets rather than specific indicators.
15. For national accounts, the objective is producing and disseminating data covering the widest scope of economic activity, including that of the informal sector. The emphasis is on producing the full range of national accounts aggregates and balances, not only production-oriented measures. Thus, in addition to GDP, the System recommends the development of measures of national and disposable income, consumption, saving, capital formation, and net lending/net borrowing. The development of the full range of measures is a long-term effort for most countries and all countries need not follow the same path of implementation, as the appropriate path in a country will depend on analytical and policy needs and resource availability. International and regional manuals—the 1993 SNA and the European System of Accounts 1995, for example—are recommended to guide development of national accounts. The UN Statistical Commission has endorsed a set of benchmarks to guide countries on the path of implementation. The System also recommends as long-term objectives and as relevant the development of accounts for principal sectors of the economy and of national and sectoral balance sheets. The System recommends that complete national accounts data be disseminated annually and within 10–14 months after the end of the reference year.
16. For the comprehensive framework for central government operations, the System recommends complete coverage of all central government units, including budgetary and extra-budgetary accounts, social security funds, and decentralized agencies. Complete coverage is essential in most countries to assess the actual fiscal stance. The System recommends development of an appropriate analytical framework and classification schemes, but does not prescribe a particular framework or set of classification tables. It is recommended to use the Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001 (GFSM 2001) as a guideline for development of central government data. This manual provides a broadly used analytical framework that identifies revenue, expenditure, and financing aggregates and deficit concepts, as well as detailed classification schemes. It is expected that countries will gradually adopt recommendations of the GFSM 2001. The System recommends that complete data on the operations of central government be disseminated annually within 6–9 months. The System also encourages the development of data on general government operations or public sector operations, as appropriate. When these data are of particular policy and analytical significance—for example, when the public sector borrowing requirement is a focus of policy—their development may be accorded a high priority, at least with regard to summary indicators.
17. The depository corporations survey is the comprehensive framework for the financial sector. The coverage of this framework includes all depository corporations (banking institutions) that have liabilities included in broad money aggregates. The System suggests an analytical framework that is based on a measure of broad money and factors that affect changes in money, especially domestic credit and external assets and liabilities. The IMF Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual is recommended as a guideline for the development of data. In recognition of existing good practice across a broad range of countries, the System recommends monthly data to be disseminated within 2–3 months of the end of the reference month.
18. For the external sector, balance of payments is the comprehensive framework. The objective is the production and dissemination of complete balance of payments accounts. The fifth edition of the IMF Balance of Payments Manual, and its Supplement on financial derivatives, is recommended as a guide to development of a full range of external transactions measures. The manual provides a very widely used analytical framework and classification scheme of detailed components that identifies current (imports and exports of goods and services, net income and net transfer transactions), capital, and financial (direct investment, portfolio investment, financial derivatives, other investment, and reserves) account transactions; a range of analytical balances, such as the trade balance, current account balance, and the overall balance may also be compiled within this framework. The System recommends the dissemination of complete balance of payments data annually within 6–9 months of the end of the reference year.
19. The international investment position is increasingly recognized as a useful framework in which to develop an integrated picture of a country’s stock of external financial assets and liabilities. Accordingly, the System encourages countries to work toward component detail according to the fifth edition of the Balance of Payments Manual’s direct investment; portfolio investment, including a breakdown into equity and debt; financial derivatives; other investment; and (for assets), reserves and disseminate the framework or components of it as appropriate and feasible.
(2) Indicators (macroeconomic and financial sectors)
20. Section B of Table 1 presents the indicators that the System recommends to be produced and disseminated in the four main sectors that are covered in the comprehensive frameworks—real, fiscal, financial, and external. In general, three types of indicators are provided for each of the macroeconomic and financial sectors: summary measures derived from the comprehensive frameworks; data that permit tracking of the principal measures in the comprehensive frameworks; and other data relevant to the sector. The production and dissemination of additional indicators is encouraged for certain data categories.
21. Many of the indicators are expected to be produced and disseminated on a more timely basis, and in some cases more frequently, than the comprehensive frameworks. Timeliness for most indicators is specified as a range. These ranges must be viewed as approximations to be used flexibly as objectives.
22. The recommended indicator corresponding to the comprehensive statistical framework for the real sector is GDP at nominal levels and real (price-adjusted) levels. The System does not recommend specific data components, but breakdowns of GDP by major expenditure category and/or productive sector are encouraged. Gross national income (formerly GNP), saving, and capital formation are data components that countries are encouraged to provide. Classification according to the 1993 SNA (or a regional counterpart) is encouraged. Annual indicators are recommended, but quarterly indicators are encouraged; dissemination within 6–9 months is recommended for annual indicators.
23. The data category intended to track GDP on a more frequent basis is a single production index or a selection of production indices. The index or selection of indices that is relevant will depend on a country’s economic structure—manufacturing or industrial production in some countries, primary commodity production (e.g., petroleum or rice) in other countries, and/or agriculture in still others. To provide a guide to developments in GDP, a monthly measure is recommended for manufacturing or industrial production. The “as relevant” notation for periodicity is a recognition that in many countries, such as those where seasonal crop production is important, production may be better represented by a quarterly or half-yearly index.
24. For price statistics, consumer price indices are recommended and producer price indices are encouraged. They are widely used in their own right; in addition, their underlying detail is needed for price-adjusted national accounts. Monthly periodicity is recommended with timeliness of 1–2 months after the end of the reference period.
25. Labor market data are critically important statistics in industrial countries but may be less meaningful in others, such as those with large informal or subsistence sectors. The “as relevant” notation recognizes that the coverage of the specified employment, unemployment, and wages/earnings components may, of necessity, be less than the total economy and that such concepts may not be meaningful. The annual periodicity and 6–9 months timeliness are recommended after consultation with the Bureau of Statistics of the International Labor Office. Disaggregation by age, sex, occupation, and industry are relevant to two MDG indicators namely the share of women in nonagricultural wage employment (MDG Indicator No. 11) and the unemployment rate among youths (MDG Indicator No. 45).
26. For the fiscal sector, the indicators corresponding to the comprehensive framework are central government aggregates; relevant measures such as revenue, expenditure, an appropriate balance, and financing are recommended to be disseminated on a quarterly basis within one quarter. The coverage of units of central government reflected in the indicators should be broad enough to track closely the appropriate balance of the whole of central government. For some countries, this may be limited to budgetary accounts, but for many countries, social security funds and extrabudgetary accounts would need to be included. The production and dissemination of interest payments data is encouraged, particularly in heavily indebted countries.
27. The recommended data coverage for debt is the total debt of central government. Debt data should be classified as domestic and foreign, on an “as relevant” basis. Breakdowns may be provided, as relevant, by maturity (short- versus medium- and long-term, preferably by remaining maturity but on an original maturity basis if the former is not available), by currency, by debt holder, and/or by debt instrument. Annual periodicity is recommended for central government debt, but where debt is of major policy significance, quarterly periodicity is encouraged. The dissemination of information on government guaranteed debt is encouraged.
28. For the financial sector, broad money and credit aggregates are the indicators for the depository corporations survey relating to the analytical accounts of the banking system. Data should cover all units of the system that are included in principal national measures of money aggregates (such as M2 or M3). Major indicators should include the net external position, domestic credit, and narrow or broad money. Classification according to the Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual is encouraged. Monthly dissemination within 1–3 months is recommended.
29. With regard to data for the central bank, the component specified is the monetary base. Monthly dissemination within one to two months is recommended.
30. Interest rates should include short- and long-term government securities rates as appropriate to the country (e.g., three-month Treasury bill rate and ten-year government bond rate) and a policy variable rate, such as the central bank lending rate. Dissemination of deposit and lending rates is encouraged. Monthly data observations are called for. Because the data are very often available in the news media and from commercial data vendors, official dissemination is less time-sensitive than otherwise would be the case and therefore no specific timeliness is recommended. Where rates are administratively determined, changes in rates should be disseminated as soon as possible after rate changes. The GDDS encourages the dissemination of a range of deposit and lending rates.
31. In countries where a stock market exists, the System encourages the dissemination of share price indices by official agencies.
32. For the external sector, balance of payments indicators relate to the comprehensive statistical framework. Recommended indicators include, for the current account, imports and exports of goods and services and the current account balance. Financial (capital) account components should include at least reserves data and an overall balance. Classification according to the Balance of Payments Manual(fifth edition) is encouraged. Annual periodicity is recommended, but quarterly dissemination is strongly encouraged. For annual data, dissemination within 6 months is recommended.
33. Data on public and publicly guaranteed external debt and the associated debt service schedule are included as core indicators. It is recommended that the stock data on public and publicly guaranteed external debt, broken down by maturity, be disseminated with quarterly periodicity and timeliness of one to two quarters of the reference date. The associated debt service schedule should be disseminated twice yearly, within three to six months of the reference period, and with data for four quarters and two semesters ahead. The GDDS encourages the dissemination of private debt not publicly guaranteed and the associated debt service schedule with annual periodicity within six to nine months after the reference period.1
34. The dissemination of monthly data on gross official reserve assets in U.S. dollars, within one to four weeks is recommended. Countries are encouraged to disseminate reserve-related liabilities. Reserve-related liabilities usually include short-term liabilities of the monetary authorities, but country-specific measures may be disseminated.
35. The dissemination of monthly data on merchandise trade (at least total imports and exports) within eight to twelve weeks is recommended. Dissemination of major commodity breakdowns of imports and exports is encouraged, with a slightly longer time lag. The dissemination of data on external debt and merchandise trade allows the calculation of the ratio of external debt service to extorts of goods and services (MDG Indicator No. 44).
36. The System recommends that spot exchange rates be available to the public on a daily basis. If these are readily available in the media or through on-line systems, public redissemination by official agencies may be limited to monthly, or preferably weekly, end period and period average rates.
(3) Basic Components (socio-demographic data)
37. Section C of Table I presents the basic components for the socio-demographic data with some encouraged extensions. The System provides for the coverage of socio-demographic data that may be useful in monitoring and evaluating long-term economic objectives to complement core macroeconomic data categories. The System includes four categories of socio-demographic data—population, education, health, and poverty. Section C of Table 1 summarizes the basic components recommended for compilation and dissemination for each category together with specified periodicity and timeliness. These do not represent the full range of statistics that are relevant for setting or monitoring social policies, nor do they reflect the full range of data gathering activities that official agencies may undertake. The System does not, for example, include categories for housing, criminal justice, or scientific and cultural activities. Nor does it include environmental statistics at the present time. While the present recommendations for socio-demographic data are subject to future elaboration and amendment, the categories and basic components included in the System represent important areas of statistical activity. The information produced is of great importance to the operation of governments, to the activities of non-governmental and international organizations, and to civil society in general.
38. The System makes no specific recommendations concerning which social or demographic indicators should be compiled or reported by participating countries. Countries should construct indicators to meet their own national needs based on good statistical practices. The basic components for the socio-demographic data that are listed in Section C of Table 1 include information on inputs of resources (financial as well as human) into the social area, as it may provide a useful link to public expenditure policies. This feature is particularly appropriate for the System as it is meant to provide a comprehensive framework spanning a broad range of interrelated policy areas, both in the social and economic spheres. As such, the system is particularly appropriate for covering the broad range of indicators used to monitor progress within national poverty reduction strategies. Furthermore, each socio-demographic data category specifies related MDG indicators which could be used to gauge the effectiveness of poverty-reduction policies.
39. The organization of the GDDS for macroeconomic and financial statistics is based upon the concept of comprehensive frameworks, such as the national accounts, which provide well-recognized economic and financial measures. There are no equivalent compre hensive frameworks for socio-demographic data. But there do exist guidelines for compilation, standard classification systems, and examples of “best practice” that are frequently cited and widely used by statisticians to organize the collection and presentation of social and demographic statistics. Detailed guidance, including references to relevant documents published by international agencies, is provided in the Guide to the General Data Dissemination System, IMF, 2001.
Data quality must have a high priority. Data users must be provided with information to assess quality and quality improvements.
a. Dissemination of documentation on methodology and sources used in preparing statistics
40. The availability of documentation on methodology and sources underlying statistics is key to users’ awareness of the strengths and weaknesses of the data. The documentation may take several forms, including summary notes accompanying release of the data, separate publications, and papers available on request from the producers. Members are encouraged to prepare and disseminate statements about important features of quality (e.g., the kinds of errors to which the data are subject, sources of noncomparability over time, measures of coverage for census data or sample error for survey data).1
b. Dissemination of component detail, reconciliations with related data, and statistical frameworks that support statistical cross-checks and provide assurance of reasonableness
41. To support and encourage users’ checks and verification of data, this element provides for dissemination of components underlying aggregate series, dissemination within a statistical framework, and/or dissemination of comparisons and reconciliations with related data. Component detail is, of course, to be at a level that does not conflict with other desirable characteristics such as the confidentiality of individually identifiable information or statistical reliability. Statistical frameworks include accounting identities and statistical relationships (such as balance sheets). Comparisons and reconciliations include those that cut across frameworks, such as exports and imports as part of the national accounts and as part of the balance of payments.
To fulfill the purpose of providing the public with information, official statistics must have the confidence of their users. In turn, confidence in the statistics ultimately becomes a matter of confidence in objectivity and professionalism of the agency producing the statistics. Transparency of its practices and procedures is a key factor in creating this confidence.
a. Dissemination of the terms and conditions under which official statistics are produced, including those relating to the confidentiality of individually identifiable information
42. This practice, which was embodied in the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics adopted in 1994 by the United Nations Statistical Commission is indirect, but nevertheless fundamental to fostering confidence in the objectivity and professionalism of official statistics. The terms and conditions under which statistical agencies operate may take various forms, including statistics law(s), charters, and codes of conduct; these may not be in place or they may be out of date. Accordingly, a first step toward the objective would be to put such laws, charters, and codes in place. The terms and conditions incorporated in them may refer to matters such as the relationship of the statistical unit to a larger department or ministry of which it is part (if relevant), the legal authority to collect data, the requirement to publish data it has collected, the terms of reference for the chief statistician/director, and procedures and processes related to confidentiality of individual responses. Dissemination of this information may take a variety of forms, including annual reports of the producer of statistics, abstracts in key publications, and statements of relevant passages referring to confidentiality of survey forms. Producers may find it convenient to use logos and other insignia to remind users of the terms under which statistics carrying the logo are produced.
b. Identification of internal government access to data before release
43. In the interest of transparency about possible undue influence on the data before release, the System calls for listing the persons/positions within the government, but outside the agency producing the data, who have pre-release access. Such identification that is, statements of “who knows what”—may take a variety of forms, including brief notices to the public and annual reports of the producer of statistics. This practice is addressed mainly to situations in which the data are sensitive for policy or other reasons, and the objective may be met, at a minimum, by following this practice for the most sensitive data categories and indicators.
c. Identification of ministerial commentary on the occasion of statistical releases
44. Ministerial commentary is not necessarily expected to maintain the same degree of objectivity or freedom from political judgment as would be expected of good practice for a producer of official statistics. Therefore, the practice is to identify such commentary so that its source will be transparent to the public. The identification of ministerial commentary on the occasion of statistical release may take several forms including separate statements by the minister (or other policy or political official) or, alternatively, identification of a statistical agency’s material in a release that contains both ministerial commentary and data. The agency’s material may include data, explanatory text (e.g., of an unusual event affecting the data), and objective analysis; the identification as agency material may be made in various ways, including the use of source lines in tables and of the producer’s logos or other insignia. This practice is addressed mainly to situations in which the data are sensitive for policy or other reasons, and the objective may be met, at a minimum, by following this practice for the most sensitive data categories and indicators.
d. Provision of information about revision and advance notice of major changes in methodology
45. In the interest of transparency about the data producers’ practices, this element provides for the provision of information about past revisions and about one of the major prospective sources of revision. Relevant information about revisions in data may include statements about the policy followed (e.g., a policy of revising monthly data when an annual, more comprehensive survey becomes available or a policy of no revision) and data about the size of past revisions; both policies and data on revisions may have to be developed before they can be disseminated. Changes in methodology (e.g., changes in base year, major expansions of sample size, introduction of alternative data sources, reclassification of transactions or industries) are to be expected in developing statistical systems. The advance notices may take a variety of forms, including, at a minimum, a short statement in the last presentation of unrevised data or a stand-alone basis. These statements would identify the kinds of changes to be made and give a source for additional information, such as a paper available on request or the name and address of a person able to explain the upcoming change. Members are encouraged, as well, to provide easy access to information explaining revisions after they are released (e.g., by access to a person able to answer questions about revisions).
4. Access by the public
Dissemination of official statistics is an essential feature of statistics as a public good. Ready and equal access are principal requirements for the public.
a. Advance dissemination of release calendars
46. Advance release calendars highlight sound management and transparency of statistical compilation and provide data users with information needed to take a more active, organized approach to acquiring the raw materials for their work. The objective may be met by the dissemination of calendars for the year ahead that show no-later-than targets for the release of comprehensive frameworks and indicators with annual periodicity and a range of dates, such as 3–5 days, for data released more frequently. Agencies are encouraged to make widely known the name and address of an office or a person who could provide the latest information about the likely date of release, including release of data for which periodicity and timeliness are irregular and newly disseminated data.
b. Simultaneous release to all interested parties
47. The objective is to release data to all interested parties at the same time in recognition that data are valuable commodities and in the interest of equity. Release is not intended to refer to access by government agencies, including those other than the producing agency; pre-release access is governed by conditions set out in the description of integrity (see subsection 3.b above). The act of release may consist of providing summary data, to be accompanied perhaps later, by provision of detail. The objective may be met by providing at least one publicly identified and accessible location where data are available to all on an equal basis once they are released.
48. Members are encouraged to participate in the GDDS on a voluntary basis. Participation involves (1) a commitment to use the GDDS as a framework for the development of their national systems for the production and dissemination of macroeconomic, financial, and socio-demographic data, (2) designation of a country coordinator to work with Fund staff, and (3) preparation of descriptions (“metadata”) of (a) current statistical production and dissemination practices and (b) plans for short- and longer-term improvements that could be disseminated by the Fund. (As an alternative to describing plans for improvement, the country may indicate that an assessment has been made that no improvements are required.) Participants are also expected to describe recent improvements that have been implemented. The descriptions of current practices and plans would correspond to each of the objectives for the data, quality, access, and integrity dimensions. The plans would identify the major shortcomings relative to the objectives set out in the System; the steps by which the shortcomings would be addressed; the resources, including technical assistance, necessary to achieve the improvements; and the time frame during which the improvements would be achieved. In particular, the improvements to be undertaken within the next year and within 2 to 5 years would be identified.
49. Participation will depend upon the completion of the three actions set out above and will be publicly recognized by the Fund when the metadata are posted on the Fund’s Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB). However, at any time before the completion of such actions, members may indicate their intent to participate by sending an appropriate communication to the Fund. This communication will provide the basis set forth to work with the member on the actions involved in participation, but receipt of such a communication will not be publicly recognized by the Fund.
50. A country could opt for participation from the outset, move gradually toward participation, or continue to work with the Fund on the improvement of national systems for the production and dissemination of statistics, as in the past, without participation. Members that subscribe to the SDDS would not be expected to participate, although they may well find the GDDS useful as a framework within which to assess their data production and dissemination practices.
51. The Fund maintains a system to store the metadata provided by participants and as a service to its members, disseminates those metadata through the Fund’s DSBB.1 The responsibility for the accuracy of the metadata and of the economic, financial, and socio-demographic statistics underlying the metadata rests with the member countries. Participants are expected to review their metadata at least once a year and update them as necessary.
52. Members may withdraw their participation at any time. They may do so by sending an appropriate communication to the Fund.
53. Reviews of the System’s content and implementation procedures will be conducted by the Fund at appropriate intervals.2 The views of both producers and users of data will be sought.
Ed. Note: This section relates not only to the obligation to furnish information to the Fund but also to provision of other information to the Fund.
Pursuant to Decision No. 13814-(06/98), November 15, 2006, future reviews will be conducted on an “as needed” basis. The expectation going forward is that “as needed” would generally mean a lag of at least five years between any such reviews.
The general government consists of the central government (budgetary funds, extrabudgetary funds, and social security funds) and state and local governments.
Gross external debt is the outstanding amount of those actual current, and not contingent, liabilities that require payment(s) of principal and/or interest by the debtor at some point(s) in the future and that are owed to nonresidents by residents of an economy. (SM/03/386, Sup. 1, 1/23/04).
Ed. Note: This Annex incorporates amendments approved by the Executive Board at various reviews of the SDDS through November 6, 2003. See SM/07/40, January 30, 2007, for amendments to Annex 1 adopted by Decision No. 13879-(07/18), February 27, 2007.
Members that subscribe to the SDDS after December 31, 1999 must have established a national summary data page that will be electronically linked to the DSBB by the time of subscription.
Working days refer to days which are not weekends or official holidays for either the subscriber or the Fund.
Ed. Note: Pursuant to Decision No. 13814-(06/98), November 15, 2006, future reviews will be conducted on an “as needed” basis. The expectation going forward is that “as needed” would generally mean a lag of at least five years between any such reviews.
This Annex incorporates amendments approved by the Executive Board at various reviews of the GDDS through November 6, 2003.
See United Nations Statistical Division, Millennium Indicators Database (http://millenniumindicators.un.org).
As documented (and numbered) in the Millennium Indicators Database of the United Nations Statistical Division (see http://millenniumindicators.un.org).
See External Debt Statistics: Guide for Compilers and Users (Washington: International Monetary Fund, Interagency Task Force on Finance Statistics, 2003).
The size of past revisions, which is often in the list of aspects of quality, is included in an element on integrity, drawing on its role as an indicator of the transparency of conditions under which data are produced.
On May 22, 2000, a GDDS site was inaugurated on the Fund’s DSBB.
Ed. Note: Pursuant to Decision No. 13814-(06/98), November 15, 2006, future reviews will be conducted on an “as needed” basis. The expectation going forward is that “as needed” would generally mean a lag of at least five years between any such reviews.