The International Monetary Fund (IMF) urged West African countries here on Monday to ensure quality Balance of Payment data to enable informed decision-making by policy makers.

Tamara Razin, Senior Economist in the Balance of Payment Division at the IMF who is the lead facilitator at a West Africa Institute of Finance and Economic Management (WAIFEM) five-day training program which opened here on Monday told participants drawn from central banks in the sub-region that without quality data, decisions would be erratic.

“Without deliberate and bold economic data, we would be in the dark and be making decisions on anecdotes” Razin pointed out.

This, according to her is the reason the main support her division gives to member countries of IMF is on capacity building.

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She therefore urged WAIFEM member countries to take deliberate and bold steps to ensure that their data collection is up to international standards.

Established on July 22, 1996 by the Governors of the Central Banks of The Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone, WAIFEM seeks to develop on a sustainable basis, competencies in the fields of macroeconomic, debt and financial sector management among the staff of central banks, ministries of finance and economic planning, as well as other public sector and private institutions.

In her keynote address, Director of Research at the Bank of Ghana Grace Akrofi underscored the need for high quality data collection and management on Balance of payments.

“Statistics on the external sector is key to policy makers, as well as analysts in the public sector, and indeed the private sector and international organizations. This is because external sector statistics assist economic agents to determine the link between the domestic and external economy, and the sustainability of the factors influencing external transactions,” she noted.

Akrofi therefore urged all central banks in the sub-region to , double up efforts towards completion of migration to the IMF Balance of Payments (BOP) and International Investment Position (IIP). Enditem

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Source: Xinhua/NewsGhana.com.gh