The Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes (ROSC) Data Module provides a review of Greece’s data dissemination practices against the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), complemented by the in-depth assessment of the quality of Greece’s national accounts, consumer price index (CPI), producer price index (PPI), and government finance, monetary, and balance-of-payments statistics (BOP). The assessment was carried out by a mission from the IMF Statistics Department. Finally, this study provides recommendations to achieve improvements in Greece’s statistics.
General recommendations deals with comments by the General Accounting Office (GAO), National Statistical Service of Greece (NSSG) and the Bank of Greece (BOG). Comments on national accounts, consumer and wholesale price index, were received by the NSSG. On monetary statistics and balance of payments statistics were prepared by the BOG.
Statements by all agencies
Establish procedures for cross-checking consistency among national accounts, government finance and balance of payments statistics, this could be in the form of an inter-agency working group.
All three agencies agree with this recommendation for cross-checking among national accounts, government finance, monetary and balance of payments statistics. Ministry plans to contact with the BOG, NSSG and the GAO with the purpose to form a working group with the above mentioned duties.
For all statistics except price indices, disseminate statements about revision policy and practice; consolidate and update existing information from various sources. Clearly identify the status (provisional/revised/final) of balance of payments statistics across all statistical publication.
The statements about the revision policy and practice for the national accounts are described extensively in the inventory of ESA95. The Division of National Accounts follows the procedures, which are being decided in the framework of the European Statistical System with respect to the writing up of the inventories as well as the Quality Reports of the final results. At the moment, the ESA95 Inventory is subject to several improvements under the auspices of Eurostat. When it is finalized, it will be on the Eurostat’s web site available to the public. The status of balance of payments statistics disseminated through the SDDS is already clearly identified, while the BOG is planning to introduce similar identifications in all its publications which are currently under review.
Undertake and disseminate revision studies routinely to shed light on accuracy of statistics.
The NSSG agrees with this recommendation and plans to implement it in the report of the final results where the main reasons of several revisions will be explained. Major revisions are always discussed and explained by the BOG in its publications. However, at the Eurostat and the ECB, discussions are currently held on the implementation of common revision policies within the EU, and it will be adopted by the BOG.
Compile and disseminate consistent and comprehensive documentation on concepts and definitions, scope, classification/sectorization, basis for recording, source data and statistical techniques. Deviations from international guidelines should be clearly identified in these metadata.
This recommendation will be implemented by the NSSG for the national accounts, with the finalization and dissemination of the inventories (as described above). Comments on this subject by GAO can be found below. Sources and methods employed by the BOG for compiling monetary and balance of payments statistics are in accordance with the ECB guidelines and they are clearly described in the relevant documents published by the ECB.
Implement the Statistical Council, as envisaged under law, to provide guidance on quality, in particular on improving the serviceability and accessibility of national statistics.
The implementation of the Statistical Council is currently under review.
In addition to participation in official committees and task forces at the national and European levels, regularize contacts with users of national accounts, price, and government finance and balance of payments statistics to learn about their data needs. This can be effected by, inter alia, users’ surveys.
Although contacts with users are not taking place in a systematic way, it is within the priorities of the NSSG to apply this recommendation as a general policy. The GAO takes into consideration the reaction of users for the improvement of the data offered, as they are expressed in the media of mass communication. Nevertheless it recognizes that a permanent framework of contact with users is useful. The design of such a framework will be considered as well as its completion, hopefully in 2004. The BOG is also considering to implement this recommendation and to undertake regular users surveys, instead of the ad hoc ones that is currently contacting.
Widely publicize contact persons in all statistics-producing agencies.
The NSSG and the BOG already comply. Contact persons are already publicized in all press releases. GAO agrees on the need to identify knowledgeable persons in publications and will work to this end in the next months.
Disseminate more detailed and time series statistics for government finance, price and balance of payment statistics.
Although detailed data and time series are provided to users upon request, the NSSG is planning to introduce this recommendation into its dissemination policy. The GAO commits itself to investigate the possibility of publishing more detailed monthly and time series statistics for government finance. The BOG will disseminate more detailed balance of payments statistics as described below on the section on Balance of Payments statistics (see Other).
National Accounts (Statements by NSSG)
Improve the short-term source data, in particular develop short-term statistics on changes in inventories.
The development of analytical quarterly accounts, among other things, will include a system of creating short-term statistics on changes in inventories on a continuous basis.
Improve data accessibility by providing charts and tables, and analysis of current-period developments.
The application of this recommendation has taken place in the press release of ANA and QNA. The production of publications of the national accounts (based on the ESA95 system) has started recently and any recommendations regarding the provision of charts, tables and the analysis of current-period developments will be taken into consideration.
Reduce the reliance of statistical techniques on outdates ratios.
This recommendation will be implemented with the creation of a new base year for the national accounts, possibly 2000 or 2001, which is one of the main priorities of the Division of National Accounts.
Consumer Price Index (Statements by NSSG)
Improve the accuracy of the index through prompt use of statistical methods to respond to quality changes.
The NSSG is fully aware of the importance of adjusting for quality changes in the consumer price index (CPI) and is going to conduct a study of the use of different quality adjustment techniques treating quality in the CPI, in collaboration with the University of Athens (Statistics Department).
Investigate the use of statistical methods for sample selection.
The NSSG is willing to investigate the possibility to introduce scientific sampling techniques and especially the possibility of introducing a probabilistic design of the outlet and products sample, considering the cost associated with different options. It has to be underlined that efforts and great steps have been made in the last revision of CPI where the geographical coverage was extended to the whole Greece as:
increase in the number of items
increase in the number of outlets
increase in the number of price collection cities
The NSSG is going to conduct a study of the use of statistical methods for sample selection in the CPI, in collaboration with the University of Athens (Statistics Department).
Wholesale Price Index (Statements by NSSG)
Improve timeliness of source data and weight revisions.
Presently the NSSG updates the weights of the wholesale price statistics using mainly the results of structural surveys. The NSSG intends to improve the timeliness of the structural surveys, by accelerating the data collection and elaboration procedures, in order to be available on time for the revision of the weights of the wholesale price index.
Establish a formal process to permit dialogue between compilers and users on a regular basis, such as users’ survey.
The NSSG agrees with the recommendation of the mission and will work towards this direction by establishing a formal process to permit dialogue between compilers and users on a regular basis.
Use sampling techniques to cover small enterprises.
The Economic and Short Term Indicators Division of NSSG in collaboration with the Methodology Division is examining the implementation of sampling techniques to cover small enterprises, taking into account the cost parameter and the time variable in the collection of data procedure.
Government Finance Statistics (Statements by all agencies)
Compile and disseminate monthly financing data for the central government cash data. Integrate GFS codes and nomenclature in the Treasury accounting system.
The GAO will exhaust the possibilities of preparing and presenting the budget accounts according to the GFS. This framework will define comprehensibly the concept, definitions, institutional coverage, classification, accounting base, the sources of data and their discrepancies from the GFS. An examination will be carried out for the compilation and dissemination of monthly financing data for the central government. The GAO will pursue the incorporation of codes and nomenclature in the new accounting system, which is under development. To this end, the GAO will investigate the possibility of assigning to a separate unit the handling of the relevant issues.
Improve the serviceability of general government statistics by adopting a migration path towards the GFSM 2001, with ESA95 data as a starting point for the full implementation of the system.
The NSSG takes seriously into consideration this recommendation of improving the serviceability of general government statistics and plans to implement it in the future.
Assign to one agency the main responsibility for compiling and disseminating a comprehensive and integrated set of government finance statistics, including statistics on financing transactions (i.e. financial accounts). The BOG would continue to be responsible for financial accounts statistics under the deal of the designated agency.
Greece supports this recommendation of assigning to one agency, among NSSG, BOG and GAO, the main responsibility for compiling and disseminating a comprehensive and integrated set of government finance statistics, including statistics on financing transactions and proposes the creation of a working group having the responsibility of validating the compiled data.
Publish a dedicated annual, or quarterly, government finance statistics publication.
The NSSG supports the recommendation of publishing a dedicated publication on annual or quarterly basis of the government finance statistics. It further considers that one of the three involved agencies should be responsible for the compilation and dissemination of this publication.
Monetary Statistics (Statements by Bank of Greece)
Increase staff resources to allow for the development and implementation of a longer-term statistical work program, including compilation of financial accounts and improving source data.
The Bank of Greece has already started the procedure for increasing the staff of the Statistics Department. A public announcement for the recruitment of 10 highly qualified statisticians/economists was made in April 2003. The Bank has received a relatively large number of applications from suitable candidates which are currently being reviewed.
Improve accuracy of source data by resolving inconsistencies in the reports of OMFIs to reduce interbank discrepancies, thereby lowering the level of other assets and other liabilities.
The problem of interbank deposit and loans discrepancies has been addressed in close collaboration with the major banks. Following this collaboration and the constant monitoring of interbank positions reported by the larger banks, we have seen a clear improvement in the quality of the data as of the beginning of 2003.
Use consistent terminology and provide more explanation, e.g., concerning intertemporal comparability of data and their consolidation.
The inconsistencies in the definition of residents across the tables of the ‘Bulletin of Conjunctural indicators’ have already been removed.
Identify as a memorandum item data on financial derivatives and accrued interest, as well as claims on and liabilities to public nonfinancial corporations.
Data on financial derivatives and accrued interest will be published in the ‘Monthly Statistical Bulletin’ following a major revision of the monetary and banking statistics contained in this publication, which will be implemented in the beginning of 2004. There are currently no plans to publish data on claims and liabilities to public non-financial corporations. These data are no longer collected by the Bank of Greece following the major restructuring of reporting forms introduced in the years 2000 and 2002. The principal aim of the new reporting is to collect the data that meet ECB’s requirements.
Balance of Payments Statistics (Statements by Bank of Greece)
Introduce estimates for reinvested earnings and undistributed branch profits into the balance of payments statistics.
Reinvestment earnings will be reported on the basis of the outcome of the annual FDI Stock survey for 2002. The compilation of these data is expected to be finalized by the first quarter of 2004, in conjunction with the data for accrual income. Back series to 1999 will also be provided.
Report data on interest payments for government debt on an accrual basis.
Income: Accruals reporting. The Bank of Greece will implement as of January 2004, a full accruals reporting system for income flows related to external portfolio investment debt/equity assets and liabilities. The system will be based on income estimates derived from changes in monthly stocks of estimated portfolio investment assets/liabilities reported by resident custodians, banks, stock brokers, investment companies, and mutual funds. Reporting will be on a security-by-security basis using ISIN Codes. The debtor approach will be used. The system will be built on the existing reporting requirements for the above-mentioned respondents, but periodicity will change from quarterly to monthly reporting. A pilot survey will be used for testing purposes in November and full implementation is envisaged for January 2004. Income flows derived from ITRS and Bank of Greece administrative sources will continue to be produced and are to be used for checking purposes.
Supplement existing balance of payments tables with more comprehensive presentations in which classifications for goods and investment income according to BPM5 are disseminated.
The Bank will supplement as of January 2004 the existing balance of payment tables in the SDDS website with a breakdown of goods and investment income items. Furthermore, the balance of payments (BOP) section in the Monthly Statistical bulletin will be restructured so that to include supplementary information on key BOP items.