Republic of Cyprus
Profile of the Statistical Service of Cyprus
1. Historical Background
The Statistical Service of Cyprus (CYSTAT) is the competent authority responsible for the compilation and the publication of most of the official statistical data in Cyprus. CYSTAT (until January 2000 under the name Department of Statistics and Research) functions under the Ministry of Finance. It was set-up in 1950 as a small administrative unit while its real function started after Cyprus became independent, in 1960.
2. Functions and Objectives
CYSTAT is mainly concerned with the initiation, organisation and carrying out of various censuses, surveys and statistical enquiries of an economic or social content and the publication of the results with the intention of assisting both the government and the private sector in policy-making and the planning of their activities. At the same time, CYSTAT acts as a co-ordinator in cases where other institutions (such as the Central Bank, other Ministries and Government Departments and semi-Government organisations) pursue work of a statistical nature for the collection of data of direct interest to the area of their activity.
The objectives of CYSTAT are reflected in the role statistics are designed to play. In recent years, there has been a growing demand for statistics by Government, academia, businessmen, trade unions, international bodies, the press and the general public.
In order to respond to its role, CYSTAT directs its work towards:
(a) A user orientation, as statistics are not end-products but intermediate products to be used in decision-making and research. In addition, the same set of statistics may have a variety of users and therefore needs to have an orientation to serve many users.
(b) A need for promoting the timely collection and publication of good quality statistical data.
(c) A need for maintaining continuity and comparability in the data produced.
(d) The safeguarding of confidentiality of individual returns, impartiality and objectivity as a necessary condition for reliable statistics.
3. Statistical Legislation
The legal basis for the collection and publication of official statistics in Cyprus is provided by the Statistics Law No. 15(I) of 2000. This Law, which repealed the previous one of 1968, is fully harmonised with the relevant statistical acquis and the patterns of European Statistical Laws. It forms the legal basis for the collection, production and dissemination of statistical information and includes general provisions governing the statistical system in Cyprus. It also specifies the tasks of the Statistical Service and redefines its role and function as the agency responsible for the production of official statistics. Among the issues included in the new legislation are provisions for the setting up of a Statistical Advisory Council, the preparation of five-year and annual work programmes, the access to administrative records and the technical autonomy, the rules of confidentiality as well as the use of common classifications and practices by all actors in the statistical system. In addition, the Statistics Law provides for the carrying out of statistical enquiries decided upon by the EU and the transmission of data subject to statistical confidentiality to Eurostat.
4. Organisational Set-up
CYSTAT is organised by subject matter on the basis of 7 main Divisions and 3 supporting Sections. The main statistical Divisions are:
- National Accounts and Short-term Economic Indicators
- Agriculture, Foreign Trade and Financial Sector Statistics
- Industry, Distributive Trade, Energy and Environment Statistics
- Services (Transport, Community, Personal, Business) Statistics
- Demography, Health and Education Statistics
- Social and Household Statistics
- Labour Force, Wages, Business Register, and Prices Statistics
The supporting sections pertain to the following:
- IT and Data Processing
- Publications and Information
- Registry and Accounts
CYSTAT currently employs 110 permanent staff, of which about 35% are university graduates. A number of casual staff is also employed to assist in the various censuses and annual surveys, primarily at the data collection phase.
5. Sources of Data and Surveys Conducted
The work of CYSTAT is associated with almost all social and economic activities in the country. The sources of information are both the public and the private sectors. Data on the activities of the private sector are collected mainly through surveys and for Government Departments and semi-Government organisations mostly through access to administrative records.
The enquires conducted include censuses (complete enumerations), regular sample surveys and ad-hoc surveys. The data are collected mainly through personal interviews held by well trained permanent and casual staff. In the planning stage of the various enquiries CYSTAT takes into consideration requests and proposals from other Government Departments so that their needs in data are met and co-ordinated.
Censuses are held at regular intervals of 10 years for population and 5-10 years for agriculture, industry, construction, wholesale and retail trade, services and establishments. Annual surveys are held in various fields.
For monitoring short-term developments in the economy, a series of monthly data and indices are compiled. These cover, inter alia, external trade, employment and unemployment, industrial production, agricultural output, retail sales, consumer and producer prices, tourism, motor vehicle registrations, land, sea and air transport, monetary statistics, balance of payments, business expectations, etc.
CYSTAT started implementing all statistical surveys and enquiries conducted in the European Union as well as the related methodology and concepts while full harmonisation is envisaged by 2003.
6. Data Dissemination
The survey results and all statistical data compiled by CYSTAT are published in paper publications available to the public. More than 50 reports (annual, quarterly, monthly) are issued every year, while the dissemination of data takes also other forms such as diskettes, bulletins, press releases and availability on the Internet. CYSTAT has its own web site which is continuously updated with the latest information available
7. International Co-operation
CYSTAT maintains close relations with all International Organisations, Statistical Institutes and Statistical Offices of other countries. Due to the on-going process for the accession of Cyprus to the European Union, relations with Eurostat (the Statistical Office of the European Communities) have been greatly enhanced.
The staff of CYSTAT participates in numerous working groups, conferences, seminars and other meetings taking place, mainly in Europe.