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Botswana rebases CPI, adds new items

MBONGENI MGUNI
Statistics Botswana is rebasing the Consumer Price Index (CPI), the measure of inflation, to reflect changing consumption patterns and the spread of technological products and services, BusinessWeek has learnt.

Currently, the CPI is calculated through monitoring price movements of 393 goods and services spread over 12 broad categories, in cities, towns and rural areas.

Each of these “broad categories” which include food, transport, health, communication and others, is assigned a different weighting in the overall CPI calculation, reflecting its impact on inflation.

According to a Statistics Botswana draft, the new CPI will feature 400 goods and services and the same number of broad categories. Many of the new items are focussed on mobile phone service costs, from devices, repairs, calls and data.

The current base year for CPI will also change from September 2016 to December 2018, while the first inflation data

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using the rebased CPI will be released in March 2019.

At a briefing recently, Statistician General, Burton Mguni said the agency was rebasing the CPI to keep track of changes in consumer consumption patterns and the evolution of modern society.

“Consumption patterns change in response to long term price movements, changes in preferences, lifestyles, the introduction of new goods and services and others,” Mguni said.

“The weights and items in the CPI must be adjusted to reflect these changes.”

Statistics Botswana officials revealed that future rebasing of the CPI would likely result in the addition of two more broad categories, including insurance and further break down of the large “miscellaneous” category.



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