Jamaica’s National Summary Data Page
“It is a capital mistake to theorise before one has data!”
– Sherlock Holmes, as written by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
Since February 13, 2017, Jamaica has boasted an online economic data portal known as the National Summary Data Page (NSDP), which serves as a one-stop publication vehicle for the country’s essential macroeconomic and financial data.
Launched on February 15, 2017 at Bank of Jamaica, the data page is simultaneously accessible from the websites of Bank of Jamaica, the Statistical Institute of Jamaica and the Ministry of Finance & the Public Service — utilising the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (SDMX).
Publication of essential macroeconomic and financial data through the NSDP provides national policy makers and domestic and international stakeholders, including investors and rating agencies, with easy access to information that the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s Executive Board has identified as critical for monitoring economic conditions and policies in any country. Making this information easily accessible in both human and machine-readable formats, in accordance with an advance release calendar, allows all users to have simultaneous access to timely data and facilitates greater data transparency.
This development is in keeping with Jamaica’s move towards implementing the ultimate international benchmark in economic data dissemination, the IMF’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS).
The first tier of international data dissemination compliance, the General Data Dissemination Standard (GDDS), was established by the IMF in 1997, and Jamaica has been fully compliant since February 2003. In 2017 we graduated to the second tier, enhanced GDDS (e-GDDS), which supersedes GDDS and encourages compliant countries to disseminate a broader set of data, including financial soundness indicators (FSIs).
The e-GDDS was established by the IMF’s Executive Board in May 2015, to support improved data transparency, encourage statistical development, and help create synergies between data dissemination and surveillance.
A mission from the IMF’s Statistics Department visited Jamaica in December 2016 to assist the relevant authorities with the implementation of the e-GDDS. The NSDP is a part of the upgrade. The associated increase in transparency and cohesion serves to boost the authenticity, consistency and credibility of the data, and these attributes of the statistics will enable the public to use the published data with a greater level of confidence.
Significantly, Jamaica’s move in this regard made us the first Caribbean country to implement the e-GDDS, and as such is a major statistical milestone for Jamaica.