Vietnam to stop issuing GDP figures for each province from 2018
VietNamNet Bridge – Vietnam will have only one national annual GDP figure released by the General Statistics Office (GSO) instead of multiple figures for individual provinces and cities.
“Local authorities will send reports about their socio-economic development to central agencies and GSO, which will analyze the reports and calculate the national GDP,” said Nguyen Van Chung, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment, who recently spoke about the new GDP calculation method.
“GSO will be the only formal agency which calculates and releases GDP figures. Local authorities will not do this anymore,” he said.
Vietnam has shown its strong determination to reform statistical work, which economists say “produces unreliable figures”.
Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung officially posed the issue at a national conference in early August, saying that Vietnam has been following a calculation method “which is not applied in any country in the world”.
“Local authorities all report high GDP growth rates of 9, 10, 11, 13 and 14 percent. Meanwhile, the GDP of Vietnam is just a little bit higher than 5 percent. It is unreasonable,” Dung said, adding that if re-calculating GDP in accordance with the international practice, the figures would be lower.
Elaborating on the calculation method reform process, GSO’s General Director Nguyen Bich Lam said there would be two phases. The first one, in 2016-2017, the transitional period, the GDP will be calculated by both GSO and local authorities, while local GDP figures will be inspected by the GSO.
In the second phase, from 2018, GSO will be the only agency to calculate the GDP.
As such, in the future, Vietnam will only have one GDP figure for the nation. And if this turns out to be realistic, analysts say, this will be seen as a “statistics revolution” to the country.
Dr. Tran Du Lich, a member of the National Assembly’s Economics Committee, also thinks that it would be better not to calculate local GDP.
“I don’t know any other country in the world which has local GDP figures,” he said. “Every country has only one GDP figure for one year. Products are circulated through a value chain which comprises many steps made in different localities. It is very difficult to calculate the products’ added value created in every locality.
“It may happen that an industrial product is made in one locality, but it is exported by businesspeople to another locality. It will be a mistake if the statistics agencies of both the localities count the value of the export products in their GDP,” Lich explained.
He went on to say that there are many indicators that local authorities can consider when planning their socio-economic development, and there was no need to calculate local GDP.
“The figure about industrial production value, for example, can show many things: how local industrial production develops and what industries see as the highest growth rates,” he said.