Blame game continues

SBP believes that a fresh CMI is under way but officials now say that a fresh census will be conducted in 2016-17


January 18, 2015
The CMI is supposed to be revised every five years but, for reasons best known to PBS’ senior hierarchy, reliance continues on outdated economic data. STOCK IMAGE

The question to be asked now is — why hasn’t a fresh census been carried out so far?

The CMI is supposed to be revised every five years but, for reasons best known to PBS’ senior hierarchy, reliance continues on outdated economic data.

The SBP itself believes that a fresh CMI is under way but officials now say that a fresh census will be conducted in 2016-17.



PBS chief statistician Asif Bajwa blamed provincial governments for the delay in carrying out a fresh census. “Our job is to send the questionnaire to provincial governments, who then dispatch to the industries,” said Bajwa.

The PBS has its own well-staffed offices in all provinces but Bajwa was unable to explain the delay in census.

On this part, Sindh government’s Assistant Director Industries Junaid Ahmed said the PBS has not made a fresh attempt to revise CMI.

“We collected the data on our own back in fiscal year 2010-11 and that was it,” he said, adding that 1,228 responses were received from the 3,992 establishments asked to submit details.

Data for CMI is collected in the shape of a four-page questionnaire, which is sent to factories by post.



Providing the information is obligatory under General Statistics Act 1975 and Industrial Statistics Act 1942 but it remains confidential and is not shared with government agencies including tax authorities.

Yet, the response is never satisfactory and Ahmed blames laissez-faire for this. “We don’t have authority to make the industries participate in the census. We can’t even enter their premises.”

Even the data of registered factories available with the provincial industries departments comes from unreliable sources.

No one was able to explain exactly how the establishments are shortlisted for the survey and who provides the data. Some officials say that authorities rely on industry chambers and associations for the information, which is not always correct.

No physical inspections of the industrial estates are conducted to gather information.



“This was not always like this. Up till 1980s, we used to issue the NOC to any factory being set up in the province. We knew exactly what kind of machinery was being imported. We knew its capacity, cost and everything,” said Ahmed. 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th,  2015.

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