Oleg Cara: "In the last years, the National Bureau of Statistics has started a series of
activities to modernize the production and dissemination ofstatistical information
in line with international and European standards"
Interview with Oleg Cara, General Director of the National Bureau of Statistics, published on 14.05.2021 on Unimedia portal.
The use of new technologies and collection methods of data, the adaptation of statistical methodologies according to international standards, as well as the diversification of statistical products and services are some of the actions carried out in the last years by the National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova (NBS), with the financial support provided by the European Union (EU). In the context of Europe Day, the Director General of the NBS, Oleg Cara outlines the main objectives of the institution he leads and mentions the need to continue the changes that have the role of modernizing and aligning the Moldovan statistical system with the European one.
Could we start our interview by explaining what “official statistics” are?
Official statistics are the data obtained as a result of collecting, processing and aggregation of information from the field and from administrative sources on all major areas of citizens' lives, in social, economic, demographic, and environment fields. They are published for all data users by the bodies forming the National Statistical System of Moldova, including the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) and the National Bank of Moldova. Official statistics are based on the Fundamental Principles of Official Statistics adopted by the general Assembly of the United Nations. They reffer to the following aspects: relevance, impartiality and equal access, professional standards and ethics, accountability and transparency, prevention of various form of abuse, access to sources of official statistics, confidentiality, legislation, national coordination, use of international standards and international cooperation.
Those principles underline the fact that reliable and objective information is crucial for the making decision process and for the further development of our country.
What NBS is doing to adhere to these principles?
In the last years, the NBS has started a series of activities in order to modernize the process of production and dissemination of statistical information in line with international standards and good practices, especially European ones. For instance, we are working with the EU Assistance to improve the quality of statistical processes and data outputs following the European Union standards and best practices. In the framework of this EU Assistance, we have established partnerships with the National Statistical Institutes of Italy, Poland, Netherlands and Lithuania in many fields, such as legislation related to statistics, statistical information systems, use of spatial data for statistics, sampling, data confidentiality, business register, education statistics, data disclosure control and statistics on social protection. We are working to make the anonymised microdata available to researchers, looking for partnership with the academia and civil society from Moldova.
What does the modernisation of official statistics mean? What should be done in order to achieve the needed progress?
A first step towards the modernisation of official statistics is adapting Moldova’s statistics to the latest methodologies regarding calculating statistical indicators and providing users with metadata information, which means information on the statistical data.
Even if Moldova is not part of the EU, our country receives financial assistance from Europe to strengthen its statistical system. Could you tell us more about this help?
We are working with the “Technical assistance to support the National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova (ParStat)” EU funded project to expand and consolidate the capacities of the National Statistical System of our country to produce and disseminate statistical data in line with our national legislation and the standards of the EU countries.
We are trying to modernise our system of data collection from the field using new methods and techniques for improving data quality and relieve the burden of individuals and enterprises, for instance using tablets that allow collecting field data by using electronic questionnaires or accessing and using administrative data already available in the country.
We have planned to re-design our web site and allow the public to access statistical data in a more user-friendly manner, improving the documentation on the data provided.
We have planned to organise an ad-hoc surveys to measure the user satisfaction on official statistics. All this requires a strong partnership with the EU, that has been already established and is now well consolidated.
How would you appreciate the capacities of the National Bureau of Statistics to provide useful efficient data? Why it is important to continue absorbing the acquis Communautaire?
Statistical data are intended for a wide range of users: central and local public authorities (especially for the development of policies, strategies and development plans, as well as their monitoring and evaluation), academia, business, civil society as a whole. The harmonization of statistics with EU standards will allow to obtain a wider and more efficient production and dissemination of official quality statistics, ensuring comparability with other EU countries and worldwide. Moldova will continue to align its statistical standards to the EU ones and implement European best practices related to production and dissemination of statistics in order to meet the country's growing information needs.
Could you explain the role of the EU Assistance in the next future in the modernization of the National Statistical System of Moldova? Can you estimate the amount of financial resources available or planned?
As I have mentioned earlier, we are now working along with National Statistical Institutes from different European countries in the framework of the “Technical assistance to support the National Bureau of Statistics of the Republic of Moldova (ParStat)” EU funded project and the “Statistics Through Eastern Partnership” regional project STEP . The first has an overall value of €1.8 million and the second one that involves six countries in the region – of €5 million. Moreover, we are expecting to receive technical assistance worth €2 million from the EU Assistance for renewing the ICT infrastructure at the NBS, in Chisinau and in the regional offices of the NBS.
We consider the EU is one of the main partners in the modernisation of the statistical system of Moldova. We need to continue absorbing the acquis Communautaire and in particular the EU Code of Practice and strengthening our partnership with the European community of statisticians. In the next future, we are looking forward to working with the EU along with other development partners on the preparation of the next Population and Housing Census which is an important nation-wide statistical activity involving all the Moldovan citizens living in the country.