Data Collection Has to be Streamlined
The Ministry of Finance has prepared the intention to develop the amendments to the National Statistics Act, one of the main aims of which is to prevent double collection of data and thereby to decrease the administrative burden on entrepreneurs.
According to legal acts, the state should not be collecting the same data from entrepreneurs more than once. However, the Chamber has repeatedly received feedback from entrepreneurs that the state is collecting from them data that they have already submitted to the state. The state has also admitted that the measures for preventing double collection of data have not been efficient enough. The main reason for the double collection is the low quality of data description, and as a result, it is not possible to connect the data of different databases in the way that statistics could be drawn mainly on that basis.
Statistics Estonia will be coordinating the state’s databases
In order to improve the situation, the state would like to amend the National Statistics Act and a number of other legal acts. As an important amendment, there is a plan to give the task of coordinating the databases to Statistics Estonia. It is reasonable that Statistics Estonia would guide, counsel and train those processing databases and owning information systems, and give them feedback on the quality of the received data. Additionally, in order to improve data quality, it is planned to give each institution the obligation to appoint a person who is responsible for data management.
With the amendment of the National Statistics Act, the state wishes to give Statistics Estonia the right to distribute data entered into the national databases inside the governmental sector in order to carry out various analyses and design new services. The Chamber supports this amendment, provided that the data is distributed by keeping in mind data security. Business and tax secrets of entrepreneurs must not be compromised while distributing the data.
Keeping confidentiality of data
The Chamber emphasises that the National Statistics Act should include a principle according to which using the data protected with statistic confidentiality is forbidden for administrative, legal, taxation purposes as well as for checking statistical units. This means that if a company has entrusted confidential data to Statistics Estonia, Statistics Estonia should not give such data to the supervisory authorities that may use these data as a basis for fining entrepreneurs or applying any other sanctions.
The draft of the National Statistics Act will be prepared in the last quarter of 2018 and the expected time of its entry into force is 1 April 2019.