Reports on Observance of Standards and
1. The Czech Republic subscribes to the Fund’s Special Data Dissemination Standard (see Box 1). Different agencies are responsible for compiling and disseminating the various sectoral data that are available on the macroeconomy. These responsibilities, along with the relevant legislation that governs the data-related work, are summarized in Appendix I.
2. Since its subscription to the SDDS was acknowledged in May 1998, the Czech Republic has moved decisively to improve data dissemination. The authorities have announced a total of 12 transition plans outlining the steps to be taken to come into observance of the SDDS for five data categories (general government operations, central government operations, central government debt, the analytical accounts of the banking sector, and the analytical accounts of the central bank). In addition, there have been 15 transition plans for the dissemination of advance release calendars that meet the SDDS requirements. All of the Czech Republic’s transition plans were completed by the end of May 1999. The Czech Republic is not taking any permanent flexibility options or "as relevant" options for the periodicity and timeliness of the data, or any calendar flexibilities for the dissemination of advance release calendars (Appendix II describes the flexibility options under the SDDS).
3. Although the Czech Republic has not yet established a National Summary Data Page (NSDP), intensive preparatory work has been done with the aim of completing the NSDP in the fourth quarter of 1999 and meeting the end-1999 deadline. This page would present all the actual data described on the Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board (DSBB) in one Internet website and could be hyperlinked to the DSBB.2
that data that are consistent with the DSBB metadata are being disseminated for the prescribed SDDS data categories.3 Data are released on a timely basis. Discussions with users of Czech economic statistics, including news services, confirm that the advance release calendars are strictly adhered to.
1 Prepared by Mr. Di Calogero and Ms. Montanjees (both Statistics Department), in consultation with the Czech authorities and the European I Department.
2 The website for the DSBB is http://dsbb.imf.org.
3 The website for the CSO is http://www.czso.cz; http://www.mpsv.cz for the MLSA; http://www.mfcr.cz for the MOF; and http://www.cnb.cz for the CNB.
4 The SDDS states that: "A set of standards that deals with the coverage, periodicity, and timeliness of the data must also address the quality of statistics. Although quality is difficult to judge, monitorable proxies, designed to focus on information the user needs to judge quality, can be useful." The SDDS, therefore, does not attempt to measure or assess data quality, but tries to ensure that data users are provided with sufficient information to form their own assessments, including by providing summary methodology statements.
5 In addition to information provided to Fund staff, the comments on the national accounts draw on "National Accounts of Central and Eastern Europe," OECD, 1997.
The Institutional Framework for Data Compilation in the Czech Republic
1. The CSO is the Czech Republic’s official statistical agency, and is responsible for compiling and disseminating all the data on the real sector data, employment, population, and merchandise trade, but not unemployment.
2. The CSO operates under the terms of the State Statistical Service Act No. 89/1995, which defines the independence of the CSO and its rights and duties towards the reporting units, including the confidentiality of individual data. The Act also specifies the method of imposing reporting duty on businesses and rules out the imposition of reporting duty on the members of the population. Under the terms of the Act, surveys involving the population may only be performed voluntarily unless the reporting duty is laid down in a special law, such as for the population census due to be conducted in 2001.
3. Contributing to the independence of the CSO is the fact that the CSO President is appointed by the President of the Czech Republic (on the basis of a proposal made by the Prime Minister) and that its budget is approved by the Parliament of the Czech Republic. Although not a member of Cabinet, the CSO President may attend Cabinet meetings.
4. There is no legal requirement for the CSO to publish its data, and the agency does so as a service to the public, on the basis of an internal directive of the CSO President.
5. The MLSA is the agency responsible for compiling and disseminating the data on registered unemployment. In compiling the data, the MLSA is governed by the terms of Act No. 1/1991, and the Employment Act No. 9/1991. These acts specify the definition of a registered unemployed person and the categories of citizens considered to be jeopardized ("at risk") in the labor market. Dissemination of the data is governed by the terms of State Statistical Service Act (referenced above).
6. There is no legal requirement for the MLSA to publish the unemployment data, which is done as a service to the public.
7. The MOF is the agency responsible for compiling and disseminating the data for the fiscal sector. The compilation of the data is governed by a variety of acts.
(a) The data concerning the central government are compiled according to the State Budget Act (576/1990) and approved every year by the Czech Parliament. Act 576/1990 defines the obligation of the Czech Parliament to receive the State budget data on a quarterly basis, but there is no act requiring the MOF to compile and publish central government budgetary data; the data are published by the MOF as a service to the public.
(b) The data on the extrabudgetary funds of the central government are governed by the following laws: Acts 239/1992, 241/1992, 388/1991, 77/1969, and the State Budget Act, in the case of the State Funds; by Act 171/1991, in the case of the National Property Fund; and by Act 569/1991 in the case of the Czech Land Fund.
(c) The data on the health insurance organizations are governed by Acts 48/1997, 592/1992, 280/1992, and 551/1991, and subsequent regulations and supplementary declarations.
(d) The data on local governments are governed by both the State Budget Act and the Law on Municipalities (Act 367/1990).
8. There is no law concerning the compilation and dissemination of data on central government debt. These data are disseminated by the MOF as a service to the public.
9. The CNB is responsible for compiling and publishing the data on the financial sector and the external sector, with the exception of merchandise trade. The compilation of the data are governed by the terms of the Act on the Czech National Bank (Act 6/1993), which specifies that commercial banks are obliged to provide information to the CNB and that the CNB is obliged to publish aggregate information on monetary developments for the general public, as well as data on international reserves and exchange rates. The CNB is also governed by the terms of the Law on Protection of Personal Data in Information Technology Systems (Act 256/1992), which provides for the protection of the confidentiality of individual data.
10. With the exception of the data on monetary aggregates, international reserves, and exchange rates, there is no law requiring the publication of the financial and external sector data; these data are published by the CNB as a service to the public.
11. Copies of the Acts governing the CSO, MLSA, MOF, and CNB are published in Czech in the Collection of Laws of the Czech Republic which is available in public libraries and, under the terms of the Act on the Collection of Laws, at the offices of all local authorities. The Act on the Czech National Bank is also published in the General Information section of the CNB Internet website in both Czech and English.
Flexibility and "As Relevant" Options Under the DSBB
1. A "flexibility option" allows a subscriber to disseminate data with a lower frequency (the periodicity element) or with a greater lag (the timeliness element), or both, than prescribed for the data category under the SDDS. The SDDS allows all subscribers two flexibility options on an ongoing basis. Also, the Executive Board of the IMF has agreed to provide subscribers with an additional temporary flexibility option to smooth the transition to observance of the SDDS. This temporary option expires at the end of 1999. There are some restrictions on the use of flexibility options. No flexibility is available with respect to international reserves. In addition, flexibility may only be taken with respect to the timeliness, but not the periodicity, of data on the national accounts and the balance of payments, and only if the other data categories under the SDDS that are indicated as tracking developments in these areas are disseminated with the prescribed periodicity and timeliness. For national accounts, the tracking category is the production index, and the tracking categories for the balance of payments are merchandise trade and international reserves.
2. "Calendar flexibilities," which can be taken for a maximum of two data categories, exempt the subscriber from having to publish the precise release date for those data categories. Nevertheless, the one quarter-ahead approximate release dates must still be disseminated.
3. Finally, "as relevant" options are available for certain data categories because of structural or institutional factors; these options reflect that certain data categories may not be relevant to the economy of a given country, or it may not be possible to disseminate data with the prescribed periodicity and/or timeliness.
Dissemination Standards Bulletin Board