Business community to stand up and be counted

| 18/03/2010

(CNS): All businesses registered with the Economics and Statistics Office (ESO) will be required to participate in the annual Economic Survey which starts on Monday. The survey provides information to the ESO so it can compile the System of National Accounts (SNA) and the Balance of Payments (BOP) figures for the Cayman Islands. The office said that these indicators are especially critical in analyzing the impact of the global financial crisis on Cayman’s economy in the past two years and will help business and government plan for the future. Faced with a historical reluctance  of people to participate in surveys the ESO is calling on the business community to literally stand up and be counted.

The survey will gather information from government, non-profit and business entities to facilitate an accurate measurement of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) and balance of payments in 2008 and 2009. “The Economic Survey is important in improving the quality of statistics in Cayman. Over the years, the business sector has clamoured for economic data that can address their business planning needs,” the ESO said. ESO aims to address this gap using the SNA and BOP methodologies that have been followed in advanced economies and other countries in the world.

In his recent report which is forming the basis for government’s future economic policy James Miller and his co-authors David Shaw and Kenneth Jefferson criticised the quality and lack of accurate financial data in Cayman stating that it was hindering government’s economic management.

“Government, civic, and business leaders and officials are encumbered in their decision making by a lack of timely, accurate, reliable, and comprehensive statistics on the Cayman economy and society,” Miller stated in his report. Miller noted that the ESO has been hampered by a culture of privacy in the Cayman Islands making it difficult to get much needed data. He also noted a lack of cooperation and communication among Government agencies.

The ESO pointed out the importance of the latest information it is seeking to collect and encouraged businesses to participate as quickly as possible.

BOP data is useful for global investors as it includes the value of direct investment by sector as estimated in a manner comparable across countries. SNA data provide value-added or performance indicators across sectors. Sophisticated users of economic data such as credit ratings agencies have also relied on SNA and BOP data in making their assessment of a country’s economic performance and outlook.

The survey, ESO said is safe and confidential. It will not be made available to any party outside of ESO which will use the survey responses exclusively for the aggregate compilation of GDP and BOP statistics. “Section 17 of the Statistics Law prohibits the communication or publication of information in any manner so that an individual or business may be identified,” ESO said. It also pointed out that the completion of the questionnaire is a legal requirement under the Statistics Law (1196 Revision) and the Statistics (System of National Accounts and Balance of Payments) Regulation 2010. It confirmed every business that receives a copy of the survey next must fill it in by law before 21 May. However, in order to assist in improving the time line of the release of the figures the ESO asked people to return the survey as quickly as possible.




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  1. Anonymous says:

    These are new statistical programs here in the Cayman Islands but are well established in most other jurisdictions. Relating to the post at 7:59, what reassurance you think could be given to the public to augment confidence in these surveys?

    The provisions of the Statistics Law is the basis on which the remit of any public statistical agency (worldwide) is effected and hence it is important to inform the public about them….I do not think they are meant to threaten. The public might be a little apprehensive now due to the novelty of these surveys but,  with time, comfort levels will increase as it did in many other countries.

  2. No Comment.... says:

    This article has been posted for about 24 hours without one comment…… hmmmm…… Is that an indication of the percentage of businesses that intend to participate? Yes, it is the law…. just as it is the law to tell police if you have witnessed a crime. 

    Maybe if there was a way to give the business owners 100% assurance that all information given would be kept 100% confidential. The fear of sharing information that could devastate your market share if it gets out to the public is a real and valid fear that must be considered and respected. Right now, more than ever, businesses are struggling to survive. What will be done to give the public more confidence in this undertaking? ….. other than threatening them with the law?????????