ISLAMABAD   -   The Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS) has decided to re-base the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from fiscal year 2007-08 to fiscal 2015-16.

The decision was taken in the 17th Meeting of the Governing Council of Pakistan Bureau of Statistics which met with Federal Minister for Planning, Development & Reform Makhdum Khusro Bakhtyar in the chair. The federal minister for planning is also the chairman of the Governing Council.

The governing council approved the proposal of rebasing the Consumer Price Index (CPI) from FY 2007-08 to FY 2015-16. The rebasing was long overdue and the exercise was completed in December 2017 and Technical Committee has cleared it for presentation in the Council. Secretary Planning Zafar Hasan, members Governing Council and senior officials of the ministry were also present.

Under the new base, PBS will compile Urban Consumer Price Index (UCPI), Rural Consumer Price Index (RCPI) and National Consumer Price Index (NCPI) on monthly basis. Previously, PBS only compiled Urban Consumer Price Index to determine inflation in the country on monthly basis.

Speaking on the occasion, the Minister for Planning emphasised the need for authentic data collection for better policy and decision making. He said that PBS should devise a mechanism to deliver more reliable official figures relating to economy, population, agriculture, trade and other areas.

Makhdum Khusro stressed the need to ascertain the real impact of gas and electricity price increases as well as prices of essential food items on consumers falling in different categories. He was apprised that poor consumers falling in the lowest slab have not been affected much by increase in prices of gas and electricity due to protective cover given by the Government.

The meeting was apprised that 5th meeting of the Governing Council of PBS had decided to rebase the National Accounts Committee and Price Statistics after every 10 years. Subsequently, a technical committee under the chairmanship of ex-vice chancellor, PIDE, Dr Asad Zaman, was constituted which recommended changing the base. It is pertinent to mention here that new base will be published after the approval by ECC.Various other agenda items also came under discussion during the meeting. Regarding the appointment of Chief Statistician, the Minister directed to expedite the process for smooth functioning of PBS. It was also decided that PBS will conduct Pakistan Demographic Survey (PDS) periodically and try to resolve the issue in consultation with NADRA and local governments. PDS is critical for capturing changing demographic patterns in the country.