Putin gave Rosstat under the jurisdiction of the Ministry of economic development

Russian President Vladimir Putin gave Rosstat subordinated to the Ministry of economic development. The corresponding presidential decree published on the official Internet portal of legal information.

According to the document the Ministry of economic development receives “the formulation of state policy and normative legal regulation in the sphere of official statistical accounting”. Simultaneously Rosstat excluded from the list of services managed by the government (before that it was subordinated directly to the Cabinet).

The decree comes into force from the date of signing, April 3. The government must bring its acts into conformity with the document for four months. In this period of economic development should develop a “new strategy of development of Russian statistics until 2024”, told journalists the Minister of economic development Maxim Oreshkin.

“It will be developed openly, together with the expert community, based on international best practices. No changes in the Rosstat prior to the development of this strategy are planned. Independence of methodology and estimates of Rosstat fixed by law”, — said the Minister.

The Minister against numbers: Rosstat why it is not necessary to subordinate the Ministry of economic development — Sergey Aleksashenko

Rosstat is not the first time goes into the introduction of an economic Ministry. Subordinate to the Ministry he was about three months in 2004 and from 2008 to 2012, and then returned to the Cabinet. The current decision to move the Ministry of economic development — “impact on statistics”, says chief economist “PF Capital”, member of public Council of the Rosstat Evgeny Nadorshin. “The decision looks more like a hardware statistics does not help,” he says. Submission of Rosstat, the government contributed to the lack of pressure and, as a consequence, the objectivity of the data, says head of the laboratory for research in inflation and growth, Higher school of Economics (HSE) Vladimir Bessonov. On the other hand, the Department had to lobby for their interests, but in terms of actual independence, it was “quite weak”, he said.

“Direct interaction between probably the most regular and knowledgeable in the details of the users of statistics [Ministry officials] and those it generates, could benefit in terms of forms of data presentation and development of plans for statistical observation” — said a senior analyst at research and forecasting ACRES Dmitry Kulikov. But, according to him, there is “a potential problem” in the form of conflicts of interests within the Department. To avoid this, you need to increase the openness of Rosstat and the creation of special mechanisms that help to avoid conflicts of interest, emphasizes Kulikov.

With the beginning of the year, Rosstat switched to a new classification of economic activities (ОКВЭД2) and the classification of products by economic activities (ОКПД2). Before the Russian economy “was described not in the language, which describes the economies of other countries”, the transition itself was to “happen a year early, but some departments do not have time to prepare and the period of the government extended,” said in an interview to “Vedomosti”, the head of Rosstat Alexander Surinov. The transition was one of the reasons for delays in publishing the data for the first two months of 2017.

Maxim Oreshkin at the end of March expressed dissatisfaction with the February data of the official statistics showed a drop in industrial production and the reduction in real incomes. He called them unrepresentative, saying that “assessment was not based on real data”, and admitted that they can be revised. Rosstat’s transition to the new methodology, according to Oreshkin, “from a technical point of view, was extremely unfortunate” (quoted by “Interfax”). In particular, the base data were collected leap year 2016, in addition, in February 2017 were transferred to additional Bank holidays, he pointed out. After that, the Ministry called for the transfer of Rosstat in their submission.

. Commenting on the decree of the President, stated the need “to improve the quality of statistics and their openness to reach a higher level of public confidence in statistics, to reduce the burden on enterprises in the part of statistical reporting.” To achieve this, the Minister is proposing, through technology implementation, big data analysis and interactions with systems of other departments, aggregating statistics, in particular with the Central Bank and the Federal customs service.

Transition in Ministry is unlikely to help Rosstat to increase funding, with the bulk of criticism from Maxim Oreshkin in relation to the data published by Rosstat was “not relevant,” says Nadorshin. At the same time, in the years of subordination to the Ministry of Rosstat it “created demand” for statistics under specific forecasts, says Bessonov from the HSE and it was good to Rosstat. But after going to Rosstat, the government led its development without the necessary examination by independent experts and, as a consequence, “without evaluating the consequences,” said Bessonov.