According to a Technical Assistance Report released by the IMF, previous missions to Botswana have advised that this will improve methods used by Statistics Botswana (SB) to properly compile data for use in economic development and policymaking.
“Previous missions have recommended that SB review and improve, where possible, the data sources and methods used to compile annual GVA (Gross Value Added) for all 59 industries as part of the rebase,” stated the report. “This is complete. The data sources are a mix of administrative data, VAT data and annual financial accounts for businesses, depending on the industry.”
To hasten the process of rebasing national accounts, the report noted that Statistics Botswana explored the possibility of using corporate income tax data to estimate annual GVA but this was not possible.
“Currently, the BURS system captures taxable income only, which is not relevant to measuring GVA,” said the IMF report. “BURS have indicated that their system is being updated so that all data required will be captured.”
At the time of compiling the report, it was expected that this system update would be completed in May 2021. However, the IMF has said this was not timely enough to be incorporated into this rebase. “Statistics Botswana will commence evaluating the data once it becomes available with the intention of including it in the future,” reads the report.
According to the technical report, the October 2020 mission of the IMF concluded that Statistics Botswana had compiled all rebased GVA estimates except for Agriculture.
Due to the rebasing of national accounts, Statistics Botswana has back-casted the time series from 2006-2016. In statistical terms, this means “forecasting backward in time”.
“The mission reviewed one industry where the method for estimating the constant price series was revised,” noted the IMF. “Instead of deflating the current price series, a quantity indicator was used to estimate the constant price series and an IPD was derived.”
As part of the rebasing process, Statistics Botswana was advised to finalise its informal sector estimates. Further to this, the parastatal is compiling System Under Test (SUTs) during the rebasing exercise.
“These are extremely beneficial as they enable the balancing of the measures of GDP. They also result in valuable ratios such as input-output ratios which are used in the ongoing compilation of GVA. SB is receiving technical support on the SUT from Mr. Jan Redeby, an AfDB consultant,” noted the report.
The IMF recommended that Statistics Botswana review and validate the preliminary input structures for each industry prior to finalising the SUT, and to improve the documentation contained within the worksheets.