The government this week has begun placing advertisements in local media requesting that business owners cooperate and share information when the National Institute of Statistics begins Cambodia’s first national economic survey on March 1.
A prior survey taken in 2009 found that roughly 375,095 businesses were operating in Cambodia but did not delve into the size or nature of these businesses. According to NIS director of economic statistics Mich Kanthul, the government has spent over a year training many census takers to span out across the country.
“The census will take place from March 1 to 31, when the roughly 4,000 trained staff begin working under the guidance of the Ministry of Planning,” said Mr Kanthul. “The project is expected to cost $3 million.”
The Japan International Cooperation Agency is set to contribute $2.8 million to the effort, with the rest of the funds coming from the government.
The advertisements taken out by the NIS in several local newspapers urge business owners to “respond [to] the questions of EC2011 on the basis of the Statistics Law of Cambodia,” assuring them their answers will be kept confidential. The ads also say business owners in predominantly informal sectors—agriculture, forestry and fisheries—will be exempt from questioning. The NIS has also run television spots.
“The main question will be the income of businesses and their costs in terms of 2010 results,” said NIS deputy-director general Khin Sovorlak yesterday. “We will interview all the local businesses, international businesses and NGOs, with the exception of those related to the UN and embassies.”
Mr Sovorlak added that he expected the results of the survey to be synthesized into a report within six months, and that the data gleaned would be critical to future government planning.
“We have never done this before, and we want to collect more economic statistics so the government can better understand how to help businesses,” said Mr Sovorlak.