Second economic census aims to enhance planning

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 21 November, 2007, 12:00am

The mainland will conduct its second national economic census at the end of next year to gather more accurate data to improve planning, the State Council has announced.

The results will facilitate more effective macroeconomic controls and more scientific mid- and long-term economic planning, a notice posted on the central government's website said.

The mainland launched its first economic census in December 2004. The largest census since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, it resulted in a massive revision of estimates of the mainland's economic size and structure.

Economists and overseas media have long been questioning the accuracy of government data after widespread reports that local officials have been fabricating figures to boost their locality's economic performance.

Next year's census would aim to gather information on the operations and energy consumption of all industrial and service-sector entities, the notice said.

Statisticians would also collect data on ownership, financial results, staff and research and development activities, the notice said.

The government warned that those who refused to co-operate or who falsified or delayed their reports would face administrative punishment. However, it said it would not use data collected as evidence to punish individuals or enterprises.

The State Council ordered local governments to clamp down on potential irregularities including providing fake data, forging census results and interfering in the census process.

All enterprises and their industrial units, including businesses in secondary and tertiary industries, will be surveyed in the census.

The central government announced in December 2005 that the mainland's economy had been 16.8 per cent larger in 2004 than previously reported as a result of the first national economic census, which was modelled on the US Economic Census. The revised figures give the mainland a 2004 gross domestic product of 15.98 trillion yuan, compared with the 13.68 trillion yuan calculated under the National Bureau of Statistics' old measurements.

Ten million enumerators were employed to collect the data.

The national economic census will be conducted every five years from next year, with information to be collected on December 31.

Riding high

In the first three quarters of this year the mainland's gross domestic product was 16.6 trillion yuan, up from 14.2 trillion yuan for the same period last year - an increase of: 16.1%