New CSO statisticians participate in a training and orientation session at the CSO’s Head Office on Frederick Street in December 2021. (Image courtesy the Ministry of Planning & Development)

Progress is being made by the Central Statistical Office (CSO) to bring the dissemination of the Index of Retail Prices (RPI) back on the one-month time lag schedule, the Ministry of Planning and Development has confirmed. 

The CSO released the Index for the month of October 2021 at the end of December 2021. 

A release from the Ministry reports that the Index (All items) was 113.8 in October 2021, from the index of 112.1 which was recorded in September 2021.  This resulted in an increase of 1.7 points or 1.5% above the Index (All items) from September 2021.

According to the Planning Ministry, the RPI is a weighted average of the proportionate changes in the prices of a specified set or ‘basket’ of consumer goods and services between two periods of time and is essentially a consumer price Index and therefore measures changes in the prices of goods and services purchased by households.

“This is part of the work being done by the CSO to further strengthen Trinidad and Tobago’s National Statistical System and overall statistical capacity as well as modernise data collection for national development, business support, educational needs and more,” Minister Camille Robinson-Regis notes in the Ministry’s release.

The Planning Minister further stated that the CSO’s transformation to the National Statistical Institute of Trinidad and Tobago also advancing is with training for current and new staff to support skill updates. 

Training sessions have also been conducted with field officers, where over 100 have been trained to date in the use of the Computer-Assisted Personal Interview (CAPI) software, which will replace paper based surveys.

“Government’s drive to enhance Trinidad and Tobago’s national development trajectory will be supported by ensuring that the national statistical system is robust, responsive to the needs of national policy development and provides the data necessary for a high level of evidence-based decision making for the benefit of all citizens in Trinidad and Tobago,” the Minister said.

The Ministry notes the CSO is working to conduct the National Population and Housing Census by the fourth quarter of 2022.  The Census has been delayed by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

An implementation of a Revised Labour Force Survey using a revised methodology and survey instrument is also on the CSO’s agenda for 2022 in addition to the incorporation of an open data policy into the work of the Statistical Office.