Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Barbados to modernise statistical services

Published: Wednesday August 27, 2008

The Government of Barbados will receive a US$5 million (BDS$10m) loan from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to modernise its statistical services, the Washington-based bank announced on the weekend.

Barbados will match the loan with US$1.25 million (BDS$2.5m) of its own funds.

"The programme will help the government provide relevant, timely and quality economic and social statistics," said IDB project team leader Joel Korn.

20 years loan

The loan is for 20 years, repayable at a variable interest rate to be priced on the prevailing London Inter-Bank Rate or Libor, which is currently performing at or around 3.22 per cent.

The IDB did not specify a reset component of the rate. Barbados has a four-year grace period on repayment.

The loan will go to the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Energy, but the project is to be handled by the Barbados Statistical Service.

Several countries of the Caribbean are now upgrading their national databases as part of the move towards economic integration under the Caricom Single Market and Economy.

Statistical expert

Jamaica's top statistical expert, Dr Sonia Jackson, is leading that programme.

Barbados' project, according to the IDB, includes strengthening the legal framework for collection of data, and building a statistics network to link public sector agencies,which produce relevant public data - focussing on the management and administrative procedures, development of statistical tools, training for those who collect and massage the data for public consumption, and building the portals for public access.

Barbados wants to prioritise revenue areas, such as customs and tax administration, as well as procurement and statistical services.

Source: Jamaica Gleaner

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