Developing Financial Accounts Statistics – Macedonian Case
As a regional knowledge hub, the CEF’s work also relates to showcasing the reform efforts of our member countries. Colleagues from National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia (NBRM) shared their institution's experience in developing financial accounts statistics. The process took a while and was paved step by step, starting with several technical missions and study visits, introducing new statistical reporting, and establishing an internal working group for financial accounts in order to explain and promote the concept of financial accounts within the bank. Find out more:
Data gaps are an inevitable product of the dynamic environment in which we live. The occurrence of crises either bring these gaps to fore or reemphasize the importance of already existing data. This is the case with financial accounts, which after the latest global crisis were brought to the attention of policymakers around the globe. They reveal the financial linkages among different sectors, and are useful in detecting inter-sectoral exposures, and hence the potential build-up of vulnerabilities.
The importance of financial accounts was recognized by the National Bank of the Republic of North Macedonia (NBRM) in early 2007, when it was decided to establish the Financial Accounts division in the Statistics Department. However, the agreement made in 2013 that the NBRM will be the responsible institution for compilation of annual and quarterly financial accounts, for all sectors, pushed forward the actual implementation.
Developing new statistics is always challenging, and was so in our case too. The process took a while and was paved step by step, starting with several technical missions and study visits, introducing new statistical reporting, and establishing an internal working group for financial accounts in order to explain and promote the concept of financial accounts within the bank. Then, signing agreements for data exchange with other institutions such as the Central Registry (CR), Central Securities Depository (CSD), State Statistical Office (SSO) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) was put in place. The agreement with the CSD was crucial as it was a starting point to work on the security-by-security database in order to prepare reports for government debt securities and equity securities. The result of all these efforts are the annual data compiled for 2013–2016, unconsolidated, presented as whom-to-whom matrices, instrument-by-instrument, for all sectors and subsectors.
Another vital part in the process for developing these statistics was the longer-term regional project for government finance statistics, funded by SECO (Swiss Secretariat for Economic Affairs) and lead by the IMF. The project included North Macedonia along with four other countries (Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Albania and Kosovo) and was led by Phil Stoke from the IMF in Washington DC and Deon Tanzer, an IMF expert residing at the CEF, Ljubljana.
Starting from 2015, once a year, a workshop is held at the CEF, where representatives of all three institutions (NBRM, MoF and SSO) from the five above-mentioned countries meet to share experiences and gain knowledge from the IMF and Eurostat experts. This project has helped us also deepen the cooperation in the field of national accounts, and respectively in financial accounts, between the institutions in North Macedonia.
The hard work of the staff, supported by our management and the external experts, resulted in a first transmission of FA data to EUROSTAT– stocks for all sectors and counterparties for the period 2013–2016, as experimental data, in December 2017. In April 2018, we provided the SSO with financial accounts flows data of the general government sector as a necessary input for the compilation of EDP Table 3 for the period 2014–2016. This was a significant step toward meeting the EU statistical requirements, one of the strategic goals of the NBRM.
Although a lot of work has been done, there are more challenges in front of us, such as the quarterly FA, transactions and revaluation changes of all sectors/subsectors. The staff stays dedicated and positive with respect to the further development on the “story” called Financial Accounts!