Sec­ond quar­ter GDP es­ti­mates de­layed till De­cem­ber

Daily Mirror (Sri Lanka) - - BUSINESS -

„■ Sta­tis­tics of­fice says de­lay is due to com­plex­i­ties per­tain­ing to cap­tur­ing dig­i­tal eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties

■ „ Also says col­lect­ing data on new eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties such as telemedici­ne ser­vices and run­ning of quar­an­tine cen­tres

■ „ Says both 2q and3 qg dp es­ti­mates will be out by Dec. 15

■ „ Pledges this would be the first and fi­nal in­stance that a de­lay of this na­ture would oc­cur

The re­lease of the sec­ond quar­ter (2Q) gross do­mes­tic prod­uct (GDP) es­ti­mates are set to get fur­ther de­layed till De­cem­ber 15 as the De­part­ment of Census and Sta­tis­tics ( DCS) is cap­tur­ing eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties car­ried out dig­i­tally while col­lect­ing data on new ac­tiv­i­ties such as telemedici­ne ser­vices and run­ning of quar­an­tine cen­tres as part of t he coun­try’s eco­nomic out­put.

DCS ear­lier said it in­tended to re­lease 2Q GDP es­ti­mates by mid-oc­to­ber but the com­plex­i­ties sur­round­ing cap­tur­ing, com­pil­ing and test­ing such data com­pli­cated by the pan­demic, has pushed the pub­lish­ing date till De­cem­ber.

How­ever, DCS is ex­pected to pub­lish the 2Q GDP es­ti­mates to­gether with 3Q GDP es­ti­mates on De­cem­ber 15, as it would face fewer com­pli­ca­tions in com­pil­ing 3Q num­bers with eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties reach­ing nor­malcy dur­ing the July-septem­ber pe­riod.

“While it is ob­vi­ous that many eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties were crip­pled dur­ing that time, there have been in­stances where some other eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties have taken place i n a dif­fer­ent way than usual. Some eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties were also en­cour­aged by COVID-19,” DCS said.

“In this con­text, it is im­per­a­tive to dis­cuss with in­ter­na­tional con­sul­tants the meth­ods of es­ti­mat­ing the out­put value of cer­tain in­dus­try and ser­vice ac­tiv­i­ties. It was also de­cided to col­lect data on some of the above eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties from other sources,” it added.

Lead­ing among other data sources, which were less im­por­tant in nor­mal times, was the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion com­pa­nies as DCS said they were work­ing to­gether with all tel­cos to study the be­hav­iour of the data us­age, as of­fice-based work—both in the State and the pri­vate sec­tor—ed­u­ca­tion delivery and health­care ser­vices had shifted on­line dur­ing the lock­downs when peo­ple were asked to so­cially dis­tance.

The abil­ity to cap­ture the work con­ducted us­ing In­for­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy and es­ti­mat­ing the new eco­nomic ac­tiv­i­ties con­ducted dur­ing 2Q will some­what soften the deeper eco­nomic con­trac­tion ex­pected for the sec­ond quar­ter.

The Sri Lankan econ­omy con­tracted 1.6 per­cent in the first quar­ter de­spite only the last two weeks of March re­main­ing closed due to coro­n­avirus.

Pub­lish­ing the 2Q GDP es­ti­mates are al­ready two months late from its typ­i­cal 75-day pe­riod since the end of a quar­ter, spark­ing crit­i­cism against the gov­ern­ment for sus­pected foul play by way of at­tempts to ma­nip­u­late the num­bers.

DCS de­nied the charges and said Sri Lanka is not the only coun­try to face a de­lay in pub­lish­ing its 2Q eco­nomic out­put but said that this would be first and the fi­nal in­stance that a de­lay of this na­ture would oc­cur.

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