Further Decentralisation of Statistical Activities

With RSUs being set up in more ministries and statutory boards, statistical activities underwent further rationalisation and decentralisation in the 1980s. A system of co-ordination was put in place to ensure that the decentralisation would not adversely affect the efficiency of data collection, analysis and dissemination.

The statistical data and related activities transferred since 1984 from DOS to other public sector organisations with administrative responsibilities over those areas include:

  • Merchandise trade statistics to the Trade Development Board, now known as Enterprise Singapore;
  • Manufacturing statistics to the Economic Development Board;
  • Construction of property price index to the Ministry of National Development 1 ;
  • Annual survey of financial institutions to the Monetary Authority of Singapore;
  • Shipping and sea cargo statistics to the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore;
  • Civil aviation and air cargo statistics to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore;
  • Births and deaths statistics to the Registry of Births and Deaths, now known as Citizen Services Centre; and
  • Marriages and divorces statistics to the Ministry of Community Development, now known as the Ministry of Social and Family Development.

1 The Urban Redevelopment Authority assumed responsibility for construction and real estate statistics with effect from September 1989 when it absorbed the RSU of the Ministry of National Development.

With the divestment of selected activities, DOS could deploy resources for new activities. The 1985 recession also provided impetus for an increase in the number, periodicity and data coverage of surveys. For example, DOS increased the periodicity of the Surveys of Commerce and Services, launched new monthly surveys and compiled new indicators for short-term economic monitoring.

Key Statistical Developments in the 1980s

Year Activity
  • The collection of divorces statistics was initiated.
  • The Survey of Singapore’s Investment Abroad was launched.
  • The Public Access Time Series (PATS) Database was developed and opened for public subscription.
  • The monthly Survey of Retail Sales and Catering Trade was launched and the monthly Retail Trade and Catering Trade Indices were first compiled.
  • The Establishment Hub was set up.
  • Various economic indices were initiated, including Composite Leading and Coincident Indicators, Unit Labour Cost and Unit Business Cost Indices.
  • The monthly Retail Trade and Catering Trade Indices were first released.

Image Courtesy of the Family of Kouo Shang Wei and National Library Board Singapore