The NSA is readying itself for a busy 2019. Statistics collection is never static and hence the Namibia Statistics Agency cannot be static as well.
To start the year off, the NSA will continue to release the NCPI figures on a monthly basis. The NCPI is simply an indicator that measure the changes in the general level of prices of goods and services over time. Last month’s indicator showed that annual inflation rate stood at 5. 1 percent compared to 5.2 per cent recorded in the previous month. In the same vein we shall continue releasing the quarterly trade statistics as well as the national accounts.
For the month of March 2019, we shall not only release the quarterly trade and national accounts statistics but the preliminary national accounts and annual trade statistics as well. This in essence just means providing the annual and preliminary figures for both trade statistics and national accounts. The month of March will also see the release of the Labour Force Survey that was conducted in the year 2018. Thereafter the NSA will embark upon a huge project called the Census Mapping. More about that will be provided below.
On the Trade Statistics, these are statistical information which indicate all transactions of merchandise traded between Namibia and the rest of the world. In essence it illustrates the imports and exports of Namibia and these figures are used by decision makers at national, regional and international levels, whilst investors use this information in market research and to define their commercial strategy. For the third quarter of 2018, the trade data showed that our trade balance recorded a deficit of roughly N$ 3.3 billion meaning that we imported much more than what we exported. Namibia has been recording trade deficits for some time now as the country continue to import the majority of goods used/consumed in Namibia.
With regards to the quarterly and preliminary national accounts, these will give an analysis on how the economy performed during previous quarters and years. The national accounts consist of a number of industries that are analyzed and then give the overall picture of our economy. The latest data that we have is of the third quarter of 2018 and it shows a continuous decline on a quarterly basis of economic growth. Besides just showing economic growth, the national accounts also present sectoral contributions to overall GDP clearly indicating what role each sector plays.
The labour force survey was conducted last year (2018) and the results are expected to be released by the end of March 2019. Most people will know the Labour Force Survey as something that presents the unemployment rate for the country, which stands at 34 percent. As much as that is true, the labour force survey provides much more information than just employment and unemployment figures. The employment component of the report includes the education levels of the employed population, various occupations and sectors of economic activity, place or institution of work, wages and salaries for employees, as well as informal and vulnerable employment. The unemployment component will shed more light on that sector as well as analyze those that are looking for work.
Without a doubt, one of the major projects for the NSA this year will be the Census Mapping, also known as Census Cartographic work, which forms part of the census pre-enumeration phase. The purpose of the census mapping is to demarcate enumeration areas and digitalize all built- up structures countrywide. By the end of this exercise a national geographic database containing enumeration areas and all verified point geospatial data of built up structures such as dwelling units, businesses, health & educational facilities etc. will be developed. This will allow our upcoming 2021 census field staff to have a set of unique digital maps covering the entire country that accurately defines the boundaries within which they will have to operate during the actual census counting in 2021.
Census is a huge exercise and the NSA requests everybody to be ready when the hour comes. Your assistance and support in our usual data collection activities countrywide is highly appreciated. Therefore, we encourage you all to continue with such spirit for NSA to ensure that quality and timely data is provided for evidence-based planning.
*Iipumbu Sakaria is Manager: Corporate Communications at the Namibia Statistics Agency