Calculation for GDP to be unified

(Shanghai Daily)
Updated: 2007-01-20 15:20

China plans to set up a unified gross domestic product (GDP) calculation system nationwide in a move to prevent provinces from cooking their economic figures, said top officials at the National Bureau of Statistics.

Provincial governments will no longer have the right to calculate regional GDP. Instead, survey teams will be set up in each province to investigate and report figures directly to the state bureau.

The decision was made after complaints surfaced that the regional GDP was usually exaggerated as local governments tried to give the impression that they have fulfilled, or even exceeded, their targets, said Xinhua, citing a conference held on Thursday in Beijing by the bureau.

"The fact that regional GDP is not in line with the state figure prompts moves for a unified calculating measure," said Xie Fuzhan, head of the bureau at the conference.

Xie didn't give a detailed timetable of the move, but said so far the survey teams, under direct leadership of the bureau, have been formed in nearly all provinces.

"For the sake of their political performance, local governments often interfere with the accounting procedure to make the figures look better than they actually are," said Li Mingliang, an analyst at Haitong Securities Co.

China's GDP grew 10.9 percent in the first half of 2006, but all the provinces and regions reported double-digit growth rate for the same period of time, with 23 of them above 12 percent, according to Xinhua.

"Therefore, it is necessary to make the process of calculation independent to better reflect the local economic status and help the central government check if its restraining measures are working well," Li said.

China is gradually improving its calculating methodologies to prevent regional figures from being fabricated, thus ensuring an accurate presentation of economic growth.

The bureau in 2005 started to examine GDP figures reported by local governments before it released them.

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