Front Matter

Front Matter Page

Report on the Technical Assistance Evaluation Mission to Transition Economies: Albania and Georgia

Prepared by the Statistics Department

Approved by Adelheid Burgi-Schmelz1

February 9, 2011

Contents

  • Abbreviations

  • Executive Summary

  • I. Introduction

  • II. Brief Overview of STA’s TA Program to Albania and Georgia

  • III. Albania: TA Evaluation by Recipient Agency

    • A. SDDS Initiatives in Albania

    • B. Institute of Statistics

    • C. Bank of Albania

    • D. The Ministry of Finance of Albania

  • IV. Georgia: TA Evaluation by Recipient Agency

    • A. SDDS Initiatives in Georgia

    • B. The National Bank of Georgia

    • C. The National Statistics Office of Georgia

    • D. The Ministry of Finance of Georgia

  • V. Conclusions

    • A. Albania

    • B. Georgia

    • C. Overall

  • Appendices

  • I. Albania: TA Missions Delivered During 2005 to Mid-2010

  • II. Albania: Participants in IMF Training Courses During 2005-2009

  • III. Albania: Authorities’ Views on STA’s Technical Assistance

  • IV. Albania: Data Dissemination Practices Compared to SDDS Requirements

  • V. Georgia: TA Missions Delivered by STA During 2005 to Mid-2010

  • VI. Georgia: Participants in IMF Training Courses During 2005-2009

  • VII. Georgia: Authorities’ Views on STA’s Technical Assistance

Abbreviations

1993 SNA

System of National Accounts 1993

AMoFTS

Albanian Ministry of Finance Treasury System

ARC

Advance Release Calendar

ASB

Annual Structural Business Survey

BoA

Bank of Albania

BOP

Balance of Payments

BOPSY

Balance of Payments Statistics Yearbook

BPM5

Balance of Payments Manual, fifth Edition

BPM6

Balance of Payments Manual, sixth Edition

CCE

Coordinated Compilation Exercise (for FSIs)

CDIS

IMF Coordinated Direct Investment Survey

COFOG

Classification of Outlays by Functions of Government

COICOP

Classification of Individual Consumption According to Purpose

CPI

Consumer Price Index

CPIS

IMF Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey

DS

Department of Statistics

DSBB

Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board

EDS

External debt statistics

ESCB

European System of Central Banks

EU

European Union

FDI

Foreign direct investment

FSIs

Financial Soundness Indicators

GDDS

General Data Dissemination System

GDP

Gross Domestic Product

GEOSTAT

National Statistics Office of Georgia

GFS

Government finance statistics

GFSM 2001

Government Finance Statistics Manual 2001

HBS

Household Budget Survey

ICS

Integrated correspondence system

IFS

International Financial Statistics

IIP

International Investment Position

ILO

International Labour Office

IMF

International Monetary Fund

IMD

Integrated Monetary Database

INS

IMF Institute (Washington)

INSTAT

Institute of Statistics (Albania)

IPI

Industrial Production Index

IPSASs

International Public Sector Accounting Standards

IT

Information Technology

ITRS

International Transactions Reporting System

JVI

Joint Vienna Institute

LEPLs

Legal Entities of Public Laws

LNO

Largely Not Observed (Data ROSC assessment rating)

MFS

Monetary and financial statistics

MFSM

Monetary and Financial Statistics Manual, 2000

MoF

Ministry of Finance

NA

National accounts

NAD

National Accounts Directorate

NBG

National Bank of Georgia

NSDP

National summary data page

NSO

National Statistical Office

OFC

Other financial corporations

PFS

Project Framework Summary

PMS

Project Management System

PPI

Producer Price Index

QEDS

IMF-World Bank Quarterly External Debt Statistics Database

ROSC

Report on the Observance of Standards and Codes

RSA

Regional Statistical Advisor in external sector statistics (Georgia)

RTAC

Regional Technical Assistance Center

SDDS

Special Data Dissemination Standard

SRF

Standardized Reporting Form

STA

Statistics Department of the IMF

SUT

Supply-and-use table

TFITS

Interagency Task Force on Statistics of International Trade in Services

TA

Technical assistance

TACSN

Technical Assistance Country Strategy Note

UNSD

United Nations Statistics Division

Executive Summary

This evaluation of technical assistance (TA) and training in statistics looks at the experience of two transition economies, Albania and Georgia, during roughly the period 2005-2010. The TA, including the training, to these countries covered all the topical areas on which the IMF’s Statistics Department’s (STA) focuses, i.e., national accounts, price statistics, and monetary, balance of payments and government finance statistics, albeit with differing emphases between the two countries. Part of the assistance was funded directly from the IMF’s budget, while other elements (in particular the peripatetic advisors) were financed externally, in these cases by the Japanese government.

In both countries a benchmark was the Data ROSC conducted for the country, which provided a snapshot of the state of statistics at that time together with recommendations for improvement. In both countries the mission visited the statistics agency, the central bank, and the ministry of finance (MoF), and met with users. The evaluation is based on responses to questionnaires, desk reviews of available data, and in-country discussions with national authorities, data users, donors, and officials who had participated in IMF courses in statistics.

Both Georgia and Albania were initially slow in absorbing TA, in part since both had a legacy of institutional and legal issues to resolve in order to reform their statistical systems according to international standards. Severe resource constraints, particularly for the statistics agencies, also militated against rapid progress.

More recently, both countries have achieved important successes in statistical enhancement. Georgia subscribed to the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS) in May 2010. Albania has made progress in this direction, and has begun dissemination of quarterly national accounts, a difficult milestone in statistical development.

There have been significant changes in recent years in the institutional arrangements governing the production and dissemination of statistics in both countries. Most significantly, at the beginning of 2010 the Department of Statistics (DS) in Georgia, formerly under the auspices of the Ministry of Economic Development, was re-established as GEOSTAT, an autonomous agency responsible directly to the President. In Albania, institutional reform had been undertaken earlier, with the Albania statistics agency INSTAT placed directly under the office of the Prime Minister. In 2010, the government’s commitment to statistics in Albania was demonstrated by the provision of a significant increase in INSTAT’s staff resources.

Following the Data ROSCs, the lead focus in Georgia was on external sector statistics while in Albania it was in national accounts. In both cases assistance was provided by peripatetic advisors. Both countries indicated that they found this form of assistance particularly useful, although Georgia appears more immediately to have been able to have absorbed the lessons, perhaps because the Central Bank in Georgia, the responsible authority for the external sector statistics, faced fewer constraints than would a national statistics agency, such as INSTAT, in Albania. Nevertheless, also in Albania progress has been achieved.

There was universal acclaim for IMF training, particularly that delivered at IMF headquarters. Many of the mission counterparts had received such training, and they saw IMF training as an indispensible qualification for their work. There was some concern, particularly in Georgia, that shifting Fund priorities might mean that they could henceforth have less access to training.

Institutional reform looks to be an appropriate focus for TA and training. Both countries’ experience demonstrates the importance of appropriate institutional arrangements, in particular that the statistics-producing agencies are seen to be independent. In both countries, past institutional reforms have derived from TA recommendations. Continuing skepticism among certain parts of the user community regarding official statistics, particularly in Albania, suggests scope for further reforms to enhance transparency and independence.

The evaluation missions agreed with the authorities on priority areas to guide future

TA. In Albania, the IMF is no longer the sole provider, with significant EU assistance also evident. Nevertheless, the IMF continues to have a significant role to play in the provision of TA on macroeconomic statistics. All agreed on the importance of coordination between providers.

1

Prepared by Mr. Charles Enoch and Ms. Nataliya Ivanyk of the Statistics Department

Report on the Technical Assistance Evaluation Mission to Transition Economies - Albania and Georgia
Author: International Monetary Fund