A week-long regional course on International Trade in Goods and Services Statistics (ITGS) is underway in Accra.
The programme is organized by the West African Institute for Financial and Economic Management (WAIFEM) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), in collaboration with the Bank of Ghana.
It brought together 40 participants from Ghana, the Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone to build their capacity on international trade on statistics.
The course would expand participants’ knowledge of the compilation of ITGS accounts related to the balance of payments according to the techniques provided in the 2014 BPM6 Compilation Guide and the Manual on Statistics of International Trade in Services 2010 Complier’s Guide.
Dr Ernest Addison, Governor of the Bank of Ghana, in a speech read on his behalf at the opening ceremony, said the issue of goods and services and its impact on economic development was a concern, especially in developing countries, whose major resources were primary commodities.
He said the service sector, including the transport, tourism, and financial institutions seem to have gained prominence and had contributed to the improvement of the economy of most ECOWAS countries.
The Governor said the contributions of these economies were yet to be translated into strength as far as external trade was concerned.
However, there is shortage of reliable data on the service sector to enable full assessment of potential impacts to inform measures towards the maximization of savings from the exports.
The country’s external performance for the first quarter in 2019 witnessed a positive outlook.
During the period, the total merchandise trade was provisionally estimated at a surplus of $899 million compared with a surplus of $724 million for the same period in 2018, which was attributed to improved receipts mainly from crude oil export.
Also, there was significant net inflow of $3,068 million in the capital and financial account for the first quarter of 2019 compared with net outflows of $529 million for the same period in 2018.
Dr Addison said the overall balance of payments was provisionally estimated at a surplus of $3,135 million for the first quarter of 2019, compared with a deficit of $672 million in the same period of 2018.
He said for these trade potential to be fully achieved, serious attention had to be given to the challenges of keeping and maintaining adequate and reliable statistics.
The Governor said it was the expectation that the participants would make good use of the knowledge acquired and improve in the development of trade statistics at their various countries.
Dr Baba Y.Musa, Director General of WAIFEM, said the Institute was established in 1996 by the central banks of Ghana, The Gambia, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone to build capacity for improved macroeconomics and financial management in the constituent member countries.
He said WAIFEM had executed 712 courses and workshops, benefiting 19,026 participants from the sub-region and beyond.
The topics for the course include overview of goods and services account, transport services, insurance and pension services, manufacturing sector and treatment of goods in balance of payments.