Sat, 06 Aug 1994

Statistics agency to make its data more accessible

JAKARTA (JP): The Central Bureau of Statistics (BPS) yesterday promised to make its wealth of data and information more accessible to the public.

Newly-installed chairman Sugito Suwito told reporters yesterday after his induction that the agency would soon launch the "Central Statistics Information" scheme which employs sophisticated technology.

"The information center will start this year," he said.

People who need any kind of statistical information could make use of the personal computers provided by the Rp 300-million center, he said. In the past, people had to visit different sections for different information.

The use of satellite facilities, he said, would enable users outside the country to get the information they needed from the agency.

Sugito said the agency had taken note of the criticism by the World Bank over the way it presents its information. The bank said the agency was not "user friendly", because of the complications in obtaining information.

Sugito, 56, was installed by Minister/State Secretary Moerdiono at the agency's Central Jakarta headquarters.

He replaced Azwar Rasjid who is now entering retirement.

Sugito, a former agency's deputy chairman, is a graduate of the Academy of Statistics Science (AIS) and the University of the Philippines.

Sugito said the agency plans to encourage people from all kinds of professions to make use of its data. "Entrepreneurs can make use of our service," he said.

He acknowledged that many of the agency's customers are mostly ministers and government institutions.

"BPS should not record the data for its own use, but instead for the public," he said, adding that the agency would always improve the accuracy of the data it provides.

"The credibility of BPS chairman guarantees the validity of the data," he said.

Moerdiono said in his speech that the agency, which is entrusted to organize the planning material and the evaluation of development results, should be free from outside intervention.

"The data provided by BPS should be the way it is," he said.


He explained that it was not impossible that wrong information could lead policy makers to issue wrong political decisions.

Moerdiono said President Soeharto has always shown his deep interests in the statistics provided by the agency, like information on the price of rice.

Regarding the recent finding by the statistics agency that farmers' incomes have fallen with adverse terms of trade in recent years, the minister said the government is very concerned about the farmers' condition and will strive to support their income.

He said that the terms of trade for the goods sold and bought by farmers depended on the inflation of the products prices.

Moerdiono said it is the government's intention to keep the inflation rate as low as possible because a low inflation helps stabilize the economy.

One of the main tasks of the statistical agency is to compile the consumer price index in 17 major cities on a monthly basis. The index is used to calculate the monthly inflation rate.

The agency also runs a series of regular surveys, including the population survey every 10 years, and also special surveys.

The findings are sold in its own publications. (par)