Nqobile Tshili, Chronicle Reporter
Zimbabwe will for the first time conduct economic and agriculture censuses as well as revive one for the transport sector which was last done nearly 30 years ago, Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (Zimstat) has said.
At the same time Zimstat is in the process of producing quarterly unemployment reports which the country is not providing at the moment.
Economists and agricultural experts have hailed the move which they say will provide important data needed to assist Government as it directs development towards achieving Vision 2030.
In an interview recently, Zimstat director general Mr Taguma Mahonde said reviving and reintroducing some surveys will improve policy making.
Statistical information is critical as the country works towards attainment of an upper middle-income economy by 2030.
“There are many other surveys that had gone dormant that we are reviving. We have a census for the transport sector which was last done in 1992 or so. We want to revive that. We have the economic and agriculture censuses which we are planning to conduct for the first time.
These censuses will improve our calculation for GDP. They are very critical hence the decision to conduct them as we work towards attaining our vision as a country. We want to conduct the agriculture census in about two years time,” said said Mr Mahonde.
He said he was not aware why some of the surveys had been discontinued but he was keen on reviving them.
“There are some interesting things that are coming up. We have never produced quarterly GDP reports ever since the formation of the Central Statistical Office. So, we are working on quarterly statistics and very soon we will be producing them. We have never done quarterly unemployment figures, others are doing that and right now we are in the process of doing quarterly labour force surveys. This is why I’m saying there are a lot of issues, some of them were not being done, some of them had gone dormant but we want to revive and introduce these surveys so that policy makers are given the right statistics to guide decision making,” he said.
Economist and National University of Science and Technology lecturer Dr Nqobizitha Dube said surveys being planned by Zimstat inform policy direction.
He said at the moment there are a lot of information gaps due to unavailability of credible statistics.
“There are so many economic surveys, some of them focus on industry, telling us how many industries we have as a country. It can even provide statistics on people’s welfare, what they eat and so forth. That is the survey that will inform the country in conducting provincial GDP. We would like to ascertain the number of Bulawayo industries and their growth. At the moment we are struggling to provide provincial unemployment rates, we are struggling to provide GDP per capita of some of the areas. We are struggling to explain the composition of the economy,” said Dr Dube.
He said the transport sector survey can also assist the country in fighting global warming through understanding the level of pollution caused by vehicles.
“It’s very critical for the country to have statistics on the amount of greenhouse gases that are produced by the transport sector. There is what is called national determining statistics towards reduction of greenhouse gases globally. In the Paris Agreement to which Zimbabwe is a signatory, we made some commitments towards reduction of greenhouse gases to a certain amount. So, it is important to know the number of vehicles that we have as a country and how much emissions they are producing,” said Dr Dube.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union president Mr Abdul Nyathi said a census of the agriculture sector will provide vital information to farmers.
“The census will guide farmers on what to produce and the quantities needed. It will also help farmers in addressing some of the shortcomings that we are experiencing. It will ensure that when farmers present their issues, especially challenges they are facing, many people will support them because they will be having the correct information,” said Mr Nyathi.
He said statistical information would explain the growth of the agricultural sector or lack of [email protected]