Draft Statistics Law Approved by Assembly

A new law on the collection and dissemination of statistical data is set to be put to a vote at the National Assembly later this year after being approved by a parliamentary commission Wednesday.

“This law is being created with the clear goal of allowing us to get plentiful data and information to serve researchers and policy planners in various sectors and allow them to prepare their strategies based on accurate analysis,” Planning Minister Chhay Thorn told reporters after a meeting of the Assembly’s planning commission.

CNRP lawmaker Pol Ham, left, listens as Planning Minister Chhay Thorn speaks to reporters in Phnom Penh yesterday (Siv Channa)
CNRP lawmaker Pol Ham, left, listens as Planning Minister Chhay Thorn speaks to reporters in Phnom Penh yesterday (Siv Channa)

Pol Ham, a CNRP lawmaker and the chairman of the commission, said he expected the law to be debated during the next general session of the National Assembly, which begins on Tuesday.

If passed, the law would replace a 2005 law on statistics, which did not make sufficient provisions for the government funding of statistical data collection, according to Hang Lina, director general of the National Institute of Statistics. Because of this, she said, data collectors did not have adequate financial incentives to do their jobs well.

“Before, we didn’t have enough funds,” she said. “This meant that officials did not have encouragement to collect the data thoroughly.”

David Van, managing director in Cambodia of consultancy firm Bower Group Asia, said in an email that there was a general lack of cohesion in statistical collection by government ministries in Cambodia, in terms of both methodology and accuracy.

For example, he said, Finance Ministry customs data on exports often diverges from Commerce Ministry figures because the two bodies define exports differently.

“Different ministries had their own criteria in collecting a said set of statistics from surveys, and whether the surveys were done with a comprehensive representation of the people surveyed is another thing,” he said.

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