The first national economic census scheduled to be conducted in June this year is deferred by a year.

National Statistics Bureau (NSB) proposed the deferment to the government’s performance management division and the prime minister at its midyear review of its annual performance agreement.

It was approved as proposed.

NSB’s chief statistical officer of economic and environmental statistics division, Ugyen Norbu, said the field operations of the census such as establishment listing and the field data collection had be postponed to the next financial year.

Given the ongoing post Population and Housing Census (PHCB) activities like data editing, entry, cleaning, report writing and analysis, and the Bhutan Living Standard Survey Report, and related reports, it is expected that the bureau won’t be able to implement the economic census field activities effectively and efficiently.

The other reason was the notification the Election Commission of Bhutan (ECB) issued on the third parliamentary elections 2018.

However, Ugyen Norbu said that the necessary pre-census activities such as developing the census questionnaires and manuals are in progress as per the work plan.

“The stakeholder consultations on census questionnaires will also be carried out as planned,” he said.

NSB was to conduct and disseminate the report of the quarterly Household Expenditure Survey (HES) within 90 days after the end of the quarter.

The data collection and submission for the first quarterly Household Expenditure Survey (QHES) 2017-18 by the dzongkhag statistical officers is complete and the data verification was carried out at the NSB.

While the report on QHES has been published on time, it was disseminated only for internal use.

Ugyen Norbu said it was because the first QHES results were not comparable with the Bhutan Living Standards Survey 2017 report.

“The mean monthly food consumption in urban and rural areas was under reported in QHES by 44 percent and 36 percent respectively compared to BLSS 2017,” Ugyen Norbu said.

He said that the mean monthly food consumption at the national level was 37 percent, lower in QHES as compared to BLSS 2017.

“Therefore, to avoid user confusion, the QHES report is proposed to be withheld from being disseminated to the public while NSB shall continue to generate reports and improve the data quality.”

The success indicator for this activity was extended to ensure that the pilot quarterly HES is conducted and reports generated for internal use and further improvement.

Of the 46 success indicators, NSB reported 13 as completed and except for the economic census and QHES, the remaining 31 targets were on track.

NSB published the annual National Accounts Statistics, annual Statistical Yearbook of Bhutan, Bhutan Living Standard Survey 2017, the Poverty Analysis Report, and the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index report.

The NSB released the first Annual Environmental Accounts 2017, in September and reviewed and finalised the reports on data ecosystem in November.

The Bhutan Statistical System was reviewed and completed, through the organisational development exercise in August, 2017.

Ugyen Norbu said as the Bhutan Civil Service Rules 2018 identified NSB as a parent agency for all the statistical services, the statistical parenting framework was developed and submitted to the Royal Civil Service Commission for endorsement.

As of December 2017, NSB reported 47.6 percent of budget expenditure. It was allocated a revised budget of Nu 48.859 million.

Tshering Palden