/ 29 April 2008

DA wants answers on PPI overhaul

Statistics South Africa should appear before the finance portfolio committee to explain alleged unreliability in the Producer Price Index (PPI), the Democratic Alliance (DA) said on Tuesday.

”Reliable official data is essential to policy-making,” said DA finance spokesperson Kobus Marais.

”This is even more the case in the current high inflation environment — where inflation figures are critical in monetary policy decision making.”

Marais said the DA had written to finance portfolio committee chairperson Nhlanhla Musa Nene to request that statistician general Pali Lehohla appear before the committee to address the credibility and reliability of data released by Stats SA.

”The DA has requested detailed information on how the consumer and producer inflation series have been overhauled.

The party wanted information on what problems were experienced in this regard and what measures were implemented to deal with these problems.

On Tuesday, Business Report said there were queries over some of the data released for the Producer Price Index.

Lehlohla told paper that there had been a recent overhaul in the PPI figures which had led to a ”unexpectedly large range of problems”.

However Dr Rashad Kassim, the deputy director-general of economic statistics, said that overall the PPI was ”reliable and credible”. – Sapa