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Task Force on Finance Statistics

Data Quality

The Data Quality Assessment Framework

Following up on its two data dissemination standards initiatives (Special Data Dissemination Standard— SDDS and General Data Dissemination System - GDDS, detailed in the following section), and recognizing that the quality of data is of utmost importance if statistics are to serve their purpose, the IMF developed, with the help of the global statistical community, a framework of internationally accepted statistical practices against which to assess the quality of data: the Data Quality Assessment Framework (DQAF). The DQAF covers institutional environments, statistical processes, and characteristics of statistical products. It does so under five dimensions of data quality—assurances of integrity, methodological soundness, accuracy and reliability, serviceability, and accessibility— and a set of prerequisites for data quality. The IMF uses the DQAF to assess the data quality of macroeconomic datasets of economies, with the results published in the Data Module of the Report on Observance of Standards and Codes. Economies can use the DQAF for self-assessments.

The generic DQAF May 2012 serves as an umbrella for seven dataset-specific frameworks, including one for EDS and one for Government Finance Statistics and PSDS. The External Debt Statistics DQAF (EDS DQAF) has been reviewed and endorsed by the TFFS and is included in the 2013 EDS Guide (Appendix 6). The EDS DQAF and Government Finance Statistics and Public Sector Debt Statistics DQAF are posted on the Data quality Reference Site.

Data Dissemination Initiatives

In the aftermath of the 1994-95 international financial crisis, the Interim Committee (now called the International Monetary and Financial Committee) of the IMF's Board of Governors endorsed the establishment of a two-tier standard to guide member countries in the provision of economic and financial data to the public. The first tier, SDDS was approved by the IMF's Executive Board on March 29, 1996. The other tier, GDDS was approved on December 19, 1997.

The purpose of the SDDS is to guide IMF member countries in the provision to the public of comprehensive, timely, accessible, and reliable economic and financial statistics in a world of increasing economic and financial integration. The SDDS is geared to those countries that have, or might seek, access to international capital markets. Subscription to the SDDS is voluntary. By subscribing to the SDDS, members undertake to provide the supporting information to the IMF (posted on the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board—DSBB) and to observe the various elements of the SDDS.

On February 22, 2012, the IMF's Executive Board approved the SDDS Plus, as an additional tier of the Fund’s Data Standards Initiatives. The SDDS Plus builds on the SDDS to guide member countries on the provision of economic and financial data to the public in support of domestic and international financial stability. No changes to the external debt data category are included in the SDDS Plus. For public sector debt data, the dissemination of quarterly general government gross debt data are required for SDDS plus subscribers. See

The GDDS is a structured process focused on data quality that assists countries in adapting their statistical systems to meet the evolving requirements of the user community in the areas of economic management and development. Participating countries voluntarily commit to adhering to sound statistical practices in developing their statistical systems.