National Statistics Office - Malta
Easy and widespread access to official statistics on the economic and social condition of a country and its population is considered essential. Open access to statistics is a prime requisite of the democratic process within the country.
The National Statistics Office (NSO) works towards an exhaustive distribution of its statistical output to clients through various media. News Releases are disseminated through the mass media or broadcast electronically to clients either for free or at a nominal charge. All the other publications are provided to clients either on an exchange basis or at a price. However, the NSO also provides extensive statistics on all areas on its website for free.
Market signals through the price mechanism are used by the NSO to assist with the efficient supply and distribution of its statistical information to anyone wanting to have their own copies of publications and access to other unpublished statistics or to other NSO products.
The NSO pricing policy is intended to serve three main purposes:
(a)· to enable the demand for NSO products and services to be used as a more reliable indicator of how NSO resources should be utilised;
(b)· to encourage users to analyse and address their real needs for NSO products, both regarding statistics and services; and
(c)· to relieve taxpayers of those elements of the cost of the statistical services which have a specific and identifiable value to particular users.
The balancing of public good obligations and user pays principle underpins the pricing policy of the NSO.
Public Good Obligations
To meet its public good obligations, the main findings of statistical collections and statistical reports on matters of public interest are made available free of charge to the community through:
(a)- the media of the NSO website via Internet;
(b)· distribution of publications and other selected special releases to libraries and other public and non-public institutions;
(c)· complimentary copies of all NSO publications to various interest groups;
(d)· Data provision services offered by the NSO Library and Information Unit to clients for free or at a nominal charge;
In addition to the above, all NSO publications are sold at subsidised prices in order to render them more accessible to whoever might require them.
User Pays Principle
Copies of NSO publications obtained for private use are sold via subscription or book-shop services. All publications are presently priced at either below actual production costs or at a price that would recover all production costs.
NSO policy on its standard products containing the more detailed statistics of widespread interest is to gradually move towards the full recovery of production, marketing and distribution costs.
Users wanting more detailed and specialised information other than that published in standard products are required to pay for all costs (including overheads) incurred beyond the costs of collection and production of statistics from which the information is extracted.
The charging policy is intended to shift some of the costs from the general taxpayer to the user of statistics. The charges are not intended to cover the substantial costs associated with data collection, processing and production but to help users focus more properly on actual needs and to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the statistical service
With the exception of publications, prices for specialised products and services generally incorporate one or more of the following components:
(a)· Labour - an hourly charge calculated on the time taken to provide the specialised product or service;
(b)· Infrastructure - based on the facilities used to provide the product or service. The infrastructure component of the NSO charging policy aims to recover the various system and computing costs associated with providing statistical information to clients.
(c)· Direct costs - any costs incurred in providing the product or services.
Clients requiring a specialised product or service from the NSO are provided with a cost estimate for the requested product or service upon the submission of their request to the NSO. Time frames in respect of product and service delivery are also provided. NSO staff work on such requests only when clients agree to the indicated terms and conditions for the provision of the required product or service.