The president of the INE resigns after the Government questioned his economic measurements

Juan Rodríguez Poo, former president of the INE. / EFE

The association of statistical professionals accuses Economy, immersed in a reform of statistical tasks, of "attacking the independence" of this public institute

COLPISA Madrid

The president of the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Juan Manuel Rodríguez Poo, informed his management team on Monday that he is resigning from the position, citing personal reasons that he did not specify. The news, however, coincides in time with various information that has been happening in recent days regarding a remodeling of this public body that the Ministry of Economy - on which it depends - would be preparing, after criticism made by its own head . Nadia Calviño, and other voices of the Government against the last economic measurements of the INE that had corrected downwards previous calculations of the Executive.

This past weekend there would have been several high-level meetings related to this delicate matter, according to the newspaper 'ABC', which confirms that the resignation was transferred by the interested party to his collaborators via email. The decision of the substitute for Rodríguez Poo corresponds to Calviño, since it is a position of free appointment by the first vice president and head of Economy, in addition to the fact that his mandate does not have a fixed term either. Some sources point out that the chosen one could be Israel Arroyo, former Secretary of State for Social Security, although the aforementioned ministry indicates that there is still no name chosen – legally it must be a “person of recognized competence in matters related to statistical activity public" - and that the process "is expected to close in the coming weeks."

Although the former president of the INE has not said it publicly, behind his departure there would presumably be the growing questioning of the Government towards part of his work. For example, to the downward revisions that he has made of the progress of economic growth through the statistics on the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). However, different experts did agree on the need to study a review of the components that make up the periodic evolution of GDP, in order to give greater weight to issues such as the growth of jobs created or the evolution of tax collection. for public coffers.

Along the same lines, some of the measurements made by the INE regarding the evolution of inflation and, more specifically, how the evolution of electricity prices was reflected in the consumer price index (CPI) . And it is that this indicator only contemplates the invoices of the regulated market (PVPC), while from the sector itself and the Executive it was claimed that the references of the free market should also be included. In fact, a study process had been opened in this regard to try to modify the CPI statistics.

political questioning

But what has bothered within the INE, according to different sources, has been the political questioning. In this sense, the Association of Higher State Statisticians had issued a severe statement calling the government's criticism of the institute's work in the aforementioned matters an "attack". They even point out that it has put "the high credit" of the public body "at risk" and defend that its statistical methodology is "rigorous, public and endorsed by the Statistical Office of the European Union", with whose data it is integrated to facilitate comparisons between all member states.

Calviño's department, for its part, released a press release late on Monday where it only spoke of "relief" in the presidency of the INE and cited "personal reasons" for Rodríguez Poo that no one has specified. In any case, he placed the change of direction in this institute in line with the Government's policy, which has recently managed to approve a modification of the Law of the Public Statistical Function and that in the coming weeks will bring to the Council of Ministers a new Statute for the INE which, among other things, "will facilitate the use of new sources of information based on administrative records and 'big data'". With this, he adds, the "quality" of the statistics will be improved, their reliability will be "reinforced" and also "costs will be saved" by reducing the burden of responses for companies and citizens.

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