NSCB statisticians down to 15 from 50

There are only 15 technical staff working on the GDP, GNI and other economic indicators, down from 50 staff 15 years ago

MANILA, Philippines – The National Statistical Coordination Board (NSCB) head blamed low pay and rationalization of government posts among the key reasons for the alarming drop in statisticians working for government.

In his blog, NSCB Secretary General Jose Ramon G. Albert stressed that there are now only 15 NSCB staff working on the annual and quarterly national reports that determine the state of the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product (GDP), Gross National Income (GNI), Human Development Index, real per capita income, among others.

About 15 years ago, he noted there were 50 NSCB staff doing the same quantity of work.

He added that other major statistical agencies, including the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the Bureau of Agricultural Statistics (BAS), have experienced similar major cuts, estimated at “at least a fifth of their total human resources in 2004.”

“One of the reasons for the dwindling number of statisticians in public service is attributed to the government-wide rationalization initiative initiated under Executive Order No. 366 that pegged institutions to the number of filled plantilla positions in 2004,” he said.

He also cited “the substantially higher compensation package offered by other institutions that government statistical agencies cannot match.”

“The retirement of employees, prevailing restrictions on hiring of new staff, and the rather limited supply of graduates of statistics programs have all contributed to the dwindling number of government statisticians,” he added.

“Official statistics must be credible, and must remain independent from political interference. Official statisticians should always strive to be relevant to the needs of our stakeholders,” he noted.

“Having participated in two deliberations of the national accounts since my appointment to my current position as NSCB Secretary General, I look with pride at the current NSCB staff who work overtime up to unholy hours, including weekends, (even without overtime pay) just to meet our calendar of release.

On Thursday, January 31, the NSCB will release the country’s GDP performance in 2012. – Rappler.com