Roadtown, Tortola - Premier Honourable Ralph T. O’Neal, OBE today officially launched Government’s Household Expenditure Survey (HES) at a Press Briefing attended by members of the local media.
In his remarks, the Premier explained the objectives of the survey which are to “collect information from the Territory’s households and families on their buying habits, income and other characteristics and to relate the expenditure and income of consumers to the conditions under which they live.”
Explaining that the information gathered will help Government determine the spending patterns of households, Honourable O’Neal said it will also “provide data for an assessment of the impact of socio-economic policies on the condition of households and information to assess the cost of health services and expenditure on education among other things.”
The last HES was conducted here in 1994 to 1995 and the Premier cited a need to update this information. “The statistical base in the Territory although extensive, needs to be improved given the rapid expansion and sophistication of the economy over the last two decades and the current global economic crisis,” he said.
The Premier also noted that the BVI is not immune to the current uncertainty in the global economy and its many far-reaching effects, thus increasing the importance of acquiring current statistics.
“Government remains firmly committed to providing the best possible leadership and equipping residents with accurate and timely information to enable them to make informed decisions,” he told members of the media.
The Premier further stated that “Government is interested in how the level of average prices is changing. We are also interested in the living standard, education achievement level, income level and health care access of Virgin Islanders and residents.”
Honourable O’Neal appealed to residents of the Territory to cooperate fully with enumerators who will be going into the field from the middle of June, visiting the 750 housing units selected for the survey.
The Premier also addressed the issue of confidentiality, saying there are provisions in the Statistical Act, 2005 to penalise those who breach confidentiality. “One of the primary concerns of people when asked to provide personal information is confidentiality. I assure you that the Development Planning Unit and the enumerators who will be conducting the survey on its behalf take this issue very seriously.”
The Household Expenditure Survey will be administered through three questionnaires. The Household Questionnaire will solicit basic information on the housing units such as the type of building and water supply and the Individual Questionnaire focuses on the age, sex, educational attainment and employment status of members of the household. The third questionnaire, an Expense Diary will be used to record the daily expenditure of spending members of households over a two-week period.
Today’s Press Briefing was also attended by the Acting Director of the Development Planning Unit (DPU), Ms. Patlian Johnson and Consultant, Mr. Bryan Boxill, who is working in collaboration with the DPU.
The Development Planning Unit is responsible for acquiring and analysing statistics to facilitate economic planning and analysis. The unit functions under the umbrella of the Premier’s Office.