The government on Friday highlighted the need for greater access to data to further the country’s development, urging the private sector to participate in public surveys.
Speaking at a workshop in Phnom Penh on promoting the importance of statistical compilation, Chea Serey, director-general of the National Bank of Cambodia, said the government needs access to larger amounts of information in order to support the private sector and boost the country’s development.
“Data from businesses, NGOs and other relevant stakeholders is the most effective tool the government can use to create sound and effective policy to aid the development of the country.”
However, she said the private sector has not always been willing to share information with the authorities.
“One of the main challenges is that the private sector is not aware of the importance of statistical compilation, and doesn’t want to provide the data we ask for. This creates difficulty in identifying important issues,” Ms Serey said.
She called on businesses to cooperate with the government to “serve the national interest”.
Ms Serey said having access to more information will help the government structure the national budget, decide what sectors should be given priority or which products have the greatest potential for export.
“It will help us find our strengths and weaknesses,” she said.
“Statistics help us to prepare the national development strategy and the national budget, as well as monitor and evaluate the national economy,” Ms Serey added.
Hang Lina, director-general of the National Institute of Statistics, said a lack of funds to conduct research and surveys is the main challenge they are now facing, particularly after several development partners recently withdrew their funding.
She said they are now asking the government for a bigger budget for data collection.
“We need the involvement, in the form of technical and financial support, of all relevant stakeholders to enhance our databases,” Ms Lina said.
The national census costs about $12 million to carry out, but NIS only has access to $8.5 million due to recent budget cuts.
She said the next national census will start in March.
Friday’s workshop was organised by the central bank and NIS, a body of the Ministry of Planning.
This article was originally published in the Khmer Times.