H.E. Mohammed Al-Jadaan, Minister of Finance of Saudi Arabia declared, on Thursday 19 September 2019, the subscription of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to IMF's Special Data Dissemination Standard (SDDS), which is considered one of the best international practices in the provision of economic and financial data to the public.
In this regard, H.E. Minister of Finance said that the subscription of the Kingdom to SDDS is an important step in the path taken by the Government of the Kingdom to enhance financial disclosure and transparency in accordance with international standards. In addition, this step supports the previous steps that was taken by the Kingdom in this field like implementation of Government Finance Statistic Manual (GFS2014) of IMF, as well as issuance of the periodic financial reports of the budget. It also supports the efforts made by Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and General Authority for Statistics in development of measurement and dissemination of the economic data in the kingdom.
H.E. pointed out that the Kingdom's progress in the field of transparency and disclosure of financial and economic data supports efforts to raise the efficiency of governance and adjustment of public finance and improve the investment climate. Moreover, it should strengthen the Kingdom's position at the international level, especially as the Kingdom is on the threshold of assuming the presidency of the Group of Twenty during the coming year. H.E. added, SDDS will contribute to the availability of real-time and comprehensive statistics, which will increase the level of data access to financial markets to help in making investment decisions in the Kingdom.
The Kingdom, represented by Ministry of Finance, SAMA and General Authority for Statistics, had completed the requirements of the subscription to IMF's SDDS. Furthermore, it implemented the Statistical Data and Metadata Exchange (DSMX) Initiative on the national data page of the standard. The Kingdom's subscription to the IMF's SDDS was signed on Wednesday at the premises of the Ministry of Finance in Riyadh, where the agreement was signed by the Assistant Minister of Finance for International Affairs and Financial Policies Abdul Aziz Al-Rashid and Mrs. Patricia Tombarello, Head of the Strategic, Standards and Review Unit, Statistics Department, IMF, in the presence of His Excellency the Chairman of the Steering Committee of the Ministry of Finance, Mr. Abdulaziz Al-Freih.
His Excellency Dr. Ahmed Bin Abdul Karim Al-Khulaifi, Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, said: "Efforts of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in cooperation with IMF have been successful in the subscription to SDDS as a part of the Saudi Vision 2030 approach to achieve the highest levels of transparency and benefit from the best universal practices. In addition, H.E. Governor added that the subscription to SDDS is an important step in enhancing investors' confidence in the timing and accuracy of the Kingdom's financial and economic data and as a confirmation of the bright path of the Saudi economy."
His Excellency Dr. Fahad Bin Sulaiman AlTekhaifi, President of the General Authority for Statistics, pointed out that the Kingdom's subscription to SDDS comes in pursuit of one of the national strategic statistical goals in developing the statistical sector comprehensively and dissemination the latest statistical data about the Kingdom according to the best international practices. Moreover, H.E. President stressed that the Kingdom is the first country among the G20 countries to implement the SDMX initiative among countries that have joined SDDS standards.
It should be noted that IMF's SDDS has four themes for data dissemination: coverage, periodicity of publication and timing, easy access to data, and the integrity and quality of published data. SDMX initiative contributes to strengthen the capacities of the governmental authorities to communicate through its statistical data, where it forms a link between the producers and the users of data via SDMX platforms. In addition, it shall contribute directly to deliver data to decision makers in different government agencies who will be able to analyze and implement business decisions by relying on ready information based on data collected from different and consolidated sources into a single database. He added: "The program will enable data analysts to consolidate data from different sources including current and historical data and put them all in one place, which will enable the specialists to focus on the analysis rather than long traditional processes to prepare and consolidate data from its different sources. Users also will be able to develop their own schedules and brochures using the tools provided by the system, which shall reduce the reliance on programmers to develop reports and statistical tables each time."
It is worth mentioning that SDMX initiative was launched in 2001 by seven universal organizations working in the statistics field (the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), the European Central Bank (ECB), Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Union), the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the United Nations Statistics Division (UNSD), and the World Bank). This initiative came after the emergence of the need for common standards and guidelines among the bodies producing and sharing the statistical data and information to make the information more obvious and benefit to the users. Accordingly, it was decided to find consolidated framework to disseminate statistical data and metadata for use by statistical data producers and users to exchange data among themselves, thus making data collectible and comparable.