In response to the editorial on the Amendment to the Statistics Law (2011 Revision) released today (Jan. 27, 2015), I wish to make the following clarification:
The Amendment Bill (the “Bill”) was approved by Cabinet prior to the Consultation period. Therefore, the Cabinet is well aware of the amendments and are fully supportive of the proposed changes in the Bill in order to strengthen the data collection process;
All survey activities of the Economics and Statistics Office are approved annually by the Cabinet as part of the approval process for the Annual Publication and Dissemination Calendar mandated under section 8 of the principal Law. Additionally, these survey activities are approved prior to the start of the fiscal year as part of the prescribed annual budget process. The Bill does not in any way remove this approval process by Cabinet;
The Bill seeks authority for ESO to conduct voluntary surveys amongst exempt companies, thus allowing the inclusion of their economic contribution to Cayman’s gross domestic product (GDP) while preserving their exempt company status. It should be noted that the accurate measurement of GDP requires the inclusion of all local economic activities. Under the current Law, exempt companies are also exempt from participating in the surveys and are therefore excluded from the GDP estimation;
The Bill does not seek to increase the penalties for non-compliance as the penalties are already prescribed in the principal Statistics Law (2011 Revision); and
The Bill brings greater clarity for respondents by explicitly indicating the timeframe for survey responses. Accordingly, it makes it an offense when there is failure to return the form within the timeframe and as well to knowingly provide false information.