The chief economist of VNESHECONOMBANK, former Deputy Minister of economic development Andrey Klepach has renewed the debate about affiliation or, on the contrary, independence of Rosstat. In essence, we are talking about the quality of official statistics. After discussion about the place of Rosstat in the structure of government agencies is recognition of the fact that national statistics should increase the level of confidence on the part of experts and society in General.
photo: Natalia Muslinkina
Rosstat, it would seem that the ideal image of a sort of quiet presence, where there are no scandals, that go beyond the scope of the intrigues of “local importance”. No wonder “Office romance” Eldar Ryazanov takes place in the interior is the statistical Agency of course, the Soviet model.
But life is far richer. On the administrative field of battle main Russian statistical Agency not once, not twice passed from hand to hand. Here are some milestones of his path of fighting only in the XXI century: in March 2004, in the framework of the administrative reform, the state statistics Committee reorganized into Federal service on statistics “with the transfer of its functions on acceptance of normative legal acts in the established sphere of activities” of economic development. In may 2004, Rosstat transferred to the government. In may 2008, Rosstat reassigned to Ministry. In may 2012, the government returned Rosstat itself. In April 2017 economic development takes revenge, since Rosstat in its submission.
An impressive biography. The answer to the obvious question: what caused the bloodshed hardware around Rosstat, is obvious. Even Stalin is credited with the aphorism: “no Matter how you vote – important as it is estimated”. It’s not some election. Statistics is the mirror, not only of the economy in the narrow sense. As for the government, large and not very large, it is extremely important what will be the answer to the question: “my Friend, my mirror, tell me, yeah tell the whole truth…”. Here on “the mirror” and induced the desired Shine.
Andrey Klepach has stood for the administrative autonomy of Agency, obliged to know everything: “Rosstat should have independent status and either directly accountable to Central government, as it was, or the administration of the President, although such a history we have.” Klepach did not stop there, he remembered “the experience of other countries where the national statistical office is subject to the national legislative Assembly”. However, this experience was in Russia until 1993, the statistical service of Russia was subordinated to the Supreme Council. Klepach compared Rosstat and the Central Bank independent status which is enshrined in law, “and in the law on statistics, not there.”
Chief economist of the Bank, and he is not alone, in favor of the objectivity of statistics liberated from administrative interference, the warranty shall become the sovereignty of statistics. But there is a curious nuance. Klepach refers to its own “experience in the Ministry, when Rosstat was subordinated to the Ministry of economic development”. In 2008, when Rosstat was “conquered” the Ministry of economic development, it has grown to the Deputy Minister. Vladimir Sokolin, said goodbye then with the post of the chief statistician, warned that economic development can not hold on to “specify, supervise, issue orders in the context of the statistics”, what Klepach coolly replied: “there is No conflict of interest. We are interested in honest statistics more than others”. Since then, it seems like a conflict of interest figured out.
Most importantly, of course, not a chair and drop administrative drop shadow, and the quality of the statistics. What is alarming in the production of Rosstat?
There are two great examples of 2019, when disposed of Federal state statistics service Ministry of economic development. The first is the “miracle” of economic growth in 2018. In 2019, Rosstat counted the end of 2018, the GDP in the result of rose 0.2%. It would seem, is it worth the fuss! But I wonder, due to what happened increase. A decisive contribution was made by construction, which grew as a result of the conversion of 5.3%. Not only is this record, such a construction is not shown for 10 years, particular urgency of the situation gave the fact that for 11 months of 2018, the construction rose 0.5%. Christmas miracle Santa Claus, who decided to earn money as a foreman, was called “the drawing is intelligence”. Had to intervene the Ministry of economic development: it explained the December anomaly “radical revision of the data in the Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous district, where in 2018 completed the project “Yamal LNG”. Since it is believed that the GDP growth in Russia in 2018 is 2.3%, including the 0.2%, but the sediment that is there.
Second example: our “wonderful” income. They are known, were constantly falling a whole five-year period 2014-2018. And in the third quarter of 2019 official statistics brought the good news. Real disposable income has finally increased, with significantly — by 3%. But immediately came the doubts harbored by the official statistics. In the third quarter of 2019, according to the same Rosstat, retail trade turnover, although increased, but only 0.8% and that the growth of real income of 3%. Weird. There is also the opposite strangeness. All in the same third quarter of 2019 of the Federal tax service has recorded a sharp 8.7% increase in revenues from the payment of income tax. The figure clearly stands out from the statistics of real income.
The first oddity can be explained by the dynamics of the database, i.e. statistics 2018. The main thing in these statistics is the reaction to the presidential elections held in March 2018. In the first quarter of 2018, the revenues grew, preparing the population to the presidential elections. But the elections were held, and the income stopped, the base of comparison was more favorable to 2019.
The second oddity requires a different explanation. The answer suggested itself to Rosstat. At the end of 2019, he reviewed the statistics of real income in January-September. “Highlight” of the new technique is that now Rosstat takes into account not only the white salary, but also looks into the envelopes. Reflected the struggle with envelope schemes payment of salary and growth data for the payment of personal income tax. The shadow thinned, not only on paper, the income tax began to pay more active.
Now it has become clearer and the mismatch of the statistics of real income growth is insufficient purchasing activity. We were shown to the focus. Rosstat “knows a lot of hityk”: if it is necessary that real incomes have grown – they will grow enough competent efforts of statisticians, the rest can not worry. Income from the transfer of the shadows into the light do not grow.
In General, statistics of use, but also those who help themselves. It is well known that there are lies, damned lies and there are statistics. Statistics, judging by the fact that the author of this observation is considered to be Benjamin Disraeli, who lived in the XIX century, soon will be able to escape from this triad, but at least try something.