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UNIDO Report on CIS Countries’ Industrial Statistics is Published, Prepared With Participation of HSE ISSEK Experts

Organisers and participants of the UNIDO project “Improving Industrial Statistics, and Developing Statistical Indicators for Analysing Industry Development in the CIS countries” discussed results of the project’s analytical component at a workshop in Sochi. An important contribution to the project was made by Liudmila Kitrar, UNIDO Consultant and Deputy Director of the HSE ISSEK Centre for Business Tendencies Studies (CBTS), and the CBTS staff.

On 26-27 May, 2017 the regional workshop “Industrial Statistics for Sustainable Development of the CIS Countries” was hosted in Sochi by the UNIDO Statistical Division jointly with the Rosstat. The Higher School of Economics was represented by Liudmila Kitrar, UNIDO consultant and Deputy Director of the HSE ISSEK Centre for Business Tendencies Studies (CBTS), Georgy Ostapkovich, the CBTS Director, and Tamara Lipkind, the centre’s leading expert. The workshop was attended by UNIDO and UN Statistical Department experts, staff members of CIS national statistics services and the CIS Statistical Committee, representatives of various government ministries and executive agencies.

The Sochi workshop has marked completion of the project’s analytical component in the scope of which Liudmila Kitrar, assisted by a group of the ISSEK CBTS staff, prepared analytical report on industrial development in the CIS (see “ISSEK Experts Took Part in Advancing CIS Industrial Statistics in the Scope of the UNIDO Project” for more on the work group’s contribution to the project).

Discussion of the project results

Liudmila Kitrar made two presentations commenting on the project’s key results, tools and methodologies applied, and methodological aspects of present-day industrial statistics.

In the presentation “Statistical Data, and Methodologies for Analysing Industrial Development” the expert presented databases which can provide adequate, reliable, and internationally compatible data, and described possible techniques for processing and analysing it. Specifically, Liudmila Kitrar presented a tested methodology for calculating such UNIDO-recommended, but rarely applied in the CIS countries’ statistical practices indicators as an integral coefficient of structural shifts in industry and the overall economy, and industrialisation intensity, export products’ level, and production and exports diversification indices.

During her second presentation “Application of Statistical Methods for Strategic Analysis of Industrial Policy’s Efficiency” Liudmila Kitrar commented on key results of the UNIDO project’s analytical component. These results were described in detail in the report “Industrial development in the CIS countries: is there a scope for increasing industrialisation potential?”, presented at the workshop and published at the UNIDO official website (see also the working paper in English Industrial development in the CIS: Re-industrialization trends and potential).

Georgy Ostapkovich, the CBTS Director, made an overview presentation about the current state of the Russian industry. According to him, a major reason for the stagnation of industrial production observed in recent years was the crisis of the existing national economic growth model, further aggravated by external economic shocks.

Sergei Korotkov, Director of the UNIDO Moscow Office, and Vladimir Sokolin, Chairman of the CIS Interstate Statistical Committee, noted the huge work conducted by the UNIDO experts, and the importance of the methodological support they provide. In the four years of the project’s implementation six regional workshops were held, to discuss such issues as harmonising questionnaires, applying advanced techniques for calculation of industrial production indices, adopting new classifications, and other aspects of improving availability, quality, and international compatibility of national statistics.

Discussing plans for the future

Despite the project’s obvious success a number of unresolved issues remains, reminded the UNIDO consultant Igor Ulyanov. Not all data required to adequately assess industrial policy’s efficiency is being collected by national statistics services; they don’t always use optimal observation units or maintain statistical registries in strict adherence to international recommendations. The expert suggested maintaining a “faulty statistical indicators list” in each country, structured to reflect their use in questionnaires, respondents’ types, and review timeframes, to facilitate further advancement of statistical observations systems.

Benson Sim, expert at the UN Statistics Division, stressed the importance of using short-term economic indicators as a conceptual basis for making political decisions. A correctly built set of such indicators would provide an early warning system about forthcoming economic activity changes. Mr Sim presented the UN-recommended structured short-term statistics system, and the latest reference literature on the subject.

Reliable and timely statistics is the most important ingredient of conducting adequate economic analysis, and designing government initiatives to support industrial enterprisers, noted active users of such data Evgeniy Suvorov of the Ministry of Economic Development of Russian Federation, and Dmitri Korolev of the Krasnodar Region’s Industrial Policy Department. Their presentations started off a lively debate about the need to find a compromise between the growing demand by public authorities and the excessive number of reporting forms companies have to submit. The only reasonable way to solve this dilemma is to keep on developing the national statistical observation system. Making detailed data, and calculation methodologies available to all interested users, harmonising statistical, taxation, and customs reporting and accounting forms would allow not only to improve the quality of data but also reduce the pressure on the companies.

Summing up, Mr Shyam Upadhyaya, the UNIDO Chief Statistician, expressed his hopes that cooperation with the CIS statistical services and the HSE on improving industrial statistics would continue.

By Tamara Lipkind