Changes to the Statistics Act
To strengthen Singapore's statistical system, several changes were made to the Statistics Act in 1990, which should be viewed within the context of the first major change in Singapore's statistical legislation in 1973 when the Statistics Ordinance
was repealed and the Statistics Act was enacted in its place.
With the adoption of a decentralised statistical system and establishment of the National Statistical Commission (NSC), the Statistics Act was revised in 1973 to extend the power to issue requisitions for information to the directors of gazetted RSUs
and Chairman of NSC, besides the Chief Statistician.
In addition, the Chief Statistician, directors of gazetted RSUs and Chairman of NSC were empowered to compound offences committed by persons to whom requisitions had been issued.
The Statistics Act, 1973 was in force until 1990 when the following amendments were introduced in response to the cumulative changes in circumstances and latest developments in statistical collection and co-ordination:
The Chief Statistician is designated as the National Statistical Co-ordinator;
All gazetted RSUs are required to comply with the recommendations of the Chief Statistician, with provisions for recourse to the Minister to resolve differences; and
The Chief Statistician is empowered to direct the director of any gazetted RSU to furnish or supply to him information obtained under Section 6 of the Statistics Act and to direct any competent authorities to furnish or supply to him any particulars or
information obtained from certain specified acts in the Third Schedule of the Statistics Act.
Enhancing Statistical Processes through Technological Innovation
Parallel with the legislative changes, statistical developments in Singapore have also evolved in tandem with technological developments. The 1990s saw rapid advances in information and communications technology (ICT) and widespread use of the internet.
ICT innovations played a major role in streamlining and enhancing data collection, compilation and dissemination processes.
The growing importance of ICT applications in various aspects of the economy also created an emerging need for statistical measurement of electronic transactions in commerce and their contribution to the economy, leading to the launch of a new series
of statistical surveys in the 1990s.
Key Statistical Developments in the 1990s
Development of the Household Registration Database was initiated.
The Survey of Consumer Credit in Singapore was launched.
- The DOS internet website (SingStat website) was unveiled.
- The first mid-decade General Household Survey was launched.
- A joint project on Tourism Satellite Account with Singapore Tourism Board was initiated.
- The Time Series Retrieval and Dissemination (TREND) System was redeveloped from the PATS Database and opened for public subscription.
- The Commercial Establishment Information System (CEIS) was redeveloped from the Establishment Hub and launched for subscription by public sector organisations.
- The Survey on International Trade in Services and quarterly Wholesale Trade Survey were initiated.
- MTI Telelink, a telephone information service, was launched.
- The Domestic and Foreign Wholesale Trade Indices were first released.
- The Survey of Debt Transactions with non-residents was launched.
- Estimates of Multi-Factor Productivity Growth were first released.
- The 'Monthly Digest of Statistics' and 'Yearbook of Statistics' were first produced from an automated publication system.
- The National Dwellings Database (NDD) was enhanced to incorporate additional data items for analysis.
- Estimates of Gross Domestic Product by the income approach were first published.
- The Quarterly Survey of Services was launched.
- The Electronic Transmission of Returns (ETR) System was introduced for online submission of returns in the Business Expectations Survey.
- The SingStat DataShop was launched to enable the purchase of Singapore official statistics through credit card and cash card via the internet.
- Internet submission mode (e-survey service) was first made available for businesses to submit their survey returns.
Image Courtesy of the Family of Kouo Shang Wei and National Library Board Singapore