CBS set to conduct Economic Census for first time in country

The census results can be used by businesses to compare where they stand in terms of industry

Kathmandu, July 20

The Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS), the government agency that collects, processes, analyses and disseminates statistics, will soon conduct an Economic Census to get a comprehensive view of enterprises operating in the country and understand how the economy is functioning.

This is the first time Nepal is conducting an Economic Census, although many developed and developing countries carry out such studies every five to 10 years.

“We have already prepared the concept of the programme. We will prepare enumeration maps this fiscal year and conduct a pilot survey to assess the effectiveness of questionnaires that we have prepared. We will then begin field work in 2018 and make the results public by mid-2019,” CBS Director General Suman Raj Aryal told The Himalayan Times.

The survey will cover all micro, small, medium and large enterprises operating in formal and informal sectors, excluding those belonging to agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors.

“We are not including enterprises related to agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors in the study, because we have already started conducting Agriculture Census every 10 years,” said Aryal, adding, “The survey will also exclude public administration and extra-territorial organisations and bodies, such as embassies.”

Once the census is complete, the country will have a depository of information on enterprises engaged in retail and wholesale trade, construction, real estate, finance, communications, transportation, information technology, hospitality, utilities, health, education and other manufacturing and services sectors.

The survey will also shed light on technologies these enterprises have adopted, number of jobs they have created, products they are churning out and revenue they are generating.

“In short, the study will explain how industrialisation process is moving forward and the level of modernisation of this process,” said Aryal.

The information generated through the census can be used by the government to assess the effectiveness of various policies it has introduced and frame new policies to facilitate growth of various industries or attract foreign investment. Also, the census results can be used by businesses to compare where they stand in terms of industry average, find out where there is huge concentration of enterprises and locate potential areas where businesses can be expanded.

“So, statistics collected through the census would help both government and businesses to make decisions and frame strategic plans,” said Aryal.

To gather this information, the CBS will make use of questionnaires.

“The questionnaires will be uploaded on our website. But we know many entrepreneurs or traders are not IT literate. So, we will be conducting computer-assisted personal interviews, under which tablets and laptops will be used to make entry of responses made by interviewees. Also, paper-based questionnaires will also be distributed,” said Aryal.