return icon Vietnamnet.vn

As unreliable as Vietnamese statistics

 VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese economists read a lot of statistical reports every day. But that doesn’t mean they trust them.

VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnamese economists read a lot of statistical reports every day. But that doesn’t mean they trust them.



{keywords}




Why is that? Well, take the case of the government statistics officers who recently showed up at business establishments to survey market prices for the first quarter of the year. When shop owners were given the forms, they were told not just to note the figures for the current quarter, but to do so for future quarters as well.

“This is the way a lot of Vietnamese statistical officers operate. How can this produce reliable outcomes?” vents one frustrated economist.

Dr Vo Tri Thanh, Deputy Head of the Central Institute for Economics Management (CIEM), complained that it is very difficult to find reliable data to write an article, let alone an economic report. Another economist commented that it is very difficult just to do research in Vietnam.

Many economists were astonished to hear that the country’s GDP soared by VND300 trillion [last year]. The reason, they determined, was that the General Statistics Office (GSO) calculated the GDP in accordance with current prices, without explanation. Given this fact, researchers have to re-calculate the statistics themselves if they want to compare GDP figures over the last 20 years. This seems to be an “important mission”.

According to Dinh Tuan Minh from the Ministry of Science and Technology, the most reliable and official data sources in Vietnam that everyone refers to are those of the GSO and state agencies. However, these numbers remain problematic: a lot of statistics have not been released or are not frequently updated fairly to everyone.

Most notably, the quality of statistics remains unreliable. Minh noted that economists dare not use the figures relating to the labor workforce, such as the unemployment rate, because the statistics are unconvincing. They also note that big differences always exist between GDP statistics in local authorities’ reports and those of central agencies’ reports.

Economists say they would not feel surprised to see reports asserting a dramatic drop in the growth rate of the real estate sector, while at the same time reading of sharp increases in the production of construction materials. And the debts in capital construction reported by the Ministry of Finance are always far different from those reported by the Ministry of Construction.

To further confuse matters, the State Bank of Vietnam seems to have a perpetual problem deciding when to release its “periodic” reports. Sometimes it releases reports at the beginning of the month, other times at the end of the month.

As if that’s not bad enough, the State Bank can’t seem to even maintain consistency with its own statistical issuances. Reports released by officials at conferences have been demonstrably different from ones posted on the official websites. And no one from the bank has come forward to explain the discrepancies.

How do researchers, the business community, and institutions use the unreliable statistics?

“They just use the statistics to illustrate their particular viewpoints, because they have no other choice. But in fact, the specialists in these fields well understand that the figures have little significance,” Minh explained.

However, economists cannot allow their research to be completely thwarted by the low quality of official statistics. Instead, they adapt and innovate. They have learned to collect information from different sources, and understand how to analyze and calculate figures themselves to glean whatever reliable data are contained therein.

Says Minh, “In general, we usually quote the figures provided by international organizations, together with the official statistics”.

TBKTSG

MORE NEWS

Vietnam weighs electricity price hikes in 2023

Vietnam is considering hiking electricity tariffs this year as the last adjustment took place almost four years ago while input costs of power generation have soared since.

Biggest spring blood donation event to kick off on February 6

The Xuan hong (red spring) festival – the biggest annual blood donation campaign of the season – will begin on February 6, expecting 6,000 units of the vitality liquid.

Vietnam-Asia trade reaches nearly 475.3 billion USD in 2022

Vietnam’s merchandise trade with Asia reached 475.29 billion USD in 2022, increasing by 9.6% compared to 2021 and accounting for the highest proportion (65.1%) in the country's total import-export value.

Revised Law on Medical Examination and Treatment promulgated

The Presidential Office on February 3 announced the Acting President’s order to promulgate the Law on Medical Examination and Treatment that was adopted by the 15th National Assembly at its second extraordinary session.

Volatile real estate market puts pressure on business results

Volatile real estate market caused revenue and profit of realty businesses to decrease sharply in the fourth quarter of 2022.

VIETNAM NEWS HEADLINES FEBRUARY 3/2023

CNTraveler picks Con Dao one of best island vacations globally

Six businesses lose fuel distribution licenses

The Ministry of Industry and Trade has revoked the fuel distribution licenses from six local businesses, with effect on February 27.

ChatGPT and AI booms in Vietnam

AI and ChatGPT technologies are forecasted to explode, creating a new wave of technology this year.

Fruit exports to China increase sharply

The recovery of exports to China will contribute to boosting Vietnam's fruit and vegetable industry in 2023.

Former chairs, vice chairs of Thai Nguyen disciplined

Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh has taken disciplinary measures against two former chairmen, two former vice chairmen and one vice chairman of the People’s Committee of Thai Nguyen Province.

Hotel in Da Lat fined for discriminating against foreign tourists

The People's Committee of Da Lat City in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong on Wednesday fined Nguyen Thi Kim Thoa, director of Dream Flower Hotel Ltd. Co, for discriminating against tourists.

State Treasury to auction VND400 trillion G-bonds this year

The Vietnam State Treasury (VST) has announced a plan to auction VND400 trillion worth of government bonds on the Hanoi Stock Exchange this year.

Ministry proposes adjusting fuel prices every Thursday

According to MoIT, shorter price cycles are better at keeping domestic prices closer to the global oil prices, even during holidays (except Tet) to minimise the risk of market disruptions.

Indian journalist impressed by Ha Long Bay cruise

Aatreyee Mohanta, an Indian journalist of Telegraph India, enjoyed plenty of quintessential experiences in Vietnam as she travelled on the Aspira Cruise around Vietnam’s Ha Long Bay,

VIETNAM BUSINESS NEWS FEBRUARY 3/2023

Heavyweight shares help stop market from a fall
back_to_top