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The distorting mirror of Georgian statistics

By Messenger Staff
Thursday, July 30
Statistics are not usually a well-regarded aspect of the economy, but they have been further discredited by the pseudo-reforms carried out after the Rose Revolution, in particular those which took place when Kakha Bendukidze was leading Georgiaís economic developer. Economists think that the direct subordination of the Department of Statistics to the Ministry of Economy has played a very negative role. With such a tool as its disposal the Government has been able to manipulate official statistics in whatever way it considers appropriate.

Independent analysts suggest that the discrepancy between the real figures and those published by the Department of Statistics is very serious. There are humble suggestions about giving more independence to the Department but no real steps appear to be being taken in this direction. If anything has been done, no results are yet visible.

Independent analysts say that Government statistics artificially depress the number of poor or unemployed. The administration is trying to convince the population that there has been continual GDP growth since 2003, but although there has been growth the measures it has not been as great as the statistics make out.

By manipulating the figures the administration is undermining and discrediting itself, because false figures create illusions and exaggerated expectations in the population. If there is very little unemployment, if poverty has almost vanished, why donít people live better, why are their state salaries so low, why can an ordinary pensioner not survive on his pension?

To cure the patient you need to make a correct diagnosis of the illness. If we donít admit the correct figures and instead take an ostrich position we will never improve the situation. It must be admitted from the outset that the patient is suffering from certain diseases and therefore needs treatment.