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ZimStat plans new census to gauge economy’s pulse

Estimates show that the economy is now 70% informal and 30% formal.

THE Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZimStat) says next year’s economic census will cover small, medium and large business to gauge the economy’s true performance.

Estimates show that the economy is now 70% informal and 30% formal.

Research from the central bank estimates the informal sector to be valued at US$8,6 billion, based from an annual estimated revenue generation of US$14,2 billion. Further, it is estimated over US$2 billion is circulating daily in the informal sector.

In a statement on the economic census to be held next year, ZimStat said the listing of establishments operating in the country would be undertaken this year in the period August 1 to December 31.

“A census will be conducted for large and medium establishments, while a sample survey will be conducted for small establishments,” ZimStat said.

“The survey of small establishments is expected to commence in April 2025, and will be conducted on a monthly basis wherein respondents will be expected to complete weekly record books.”

The census will cover all establishments operating nationally, except those engaged in agriculture, forestry and shing activities, public administration and defence, compulsory social security activities, activities of households as employers and activities of extraterritorial organisations and bodies.

ZimStat said the economic census aimed to provide comprehensive baseline statistics on the size and structure of the economy, gauge the potential for industry interdependence in terms of local value chain linkages and provide valuable insights into the geographic spread of both establishments and economic activities in the country. It said the census also seeks to generate key information for gross domestic product compilation and develop a comprehensive statistical business register.

ZimStat said the economic census was a comprehensive survey conducted to collect detailed information of all economic activities undertaken by various economic units in the country.

“The census shall be conducted at 5-year intervals to track dynamics in economic activities over time. The economic census enables economic agents to understand the structure, size and dynamics of the economy for evidence-based policy formulation and decision-making. This will help meet the specific needs of different sectors of the economy,” the statistical agency said.

ZimStat said data from the census would be used by the government, captains of industry, business owners and other stakeholders.

This would be for the purposes of gauging the potential for industry interdependence in terms of local value chain linkages and assessing the market potential for new and existing products in provinces.

Other purposes include facilitating decisions on location of new establishments/branch, facilitating investment in new product lines, promoting capital investment in regions and providing data for research purposes.

The economic census was first announced last November by Finance, Economic Development, and Investment Promotion minister Mthuli Ncube.

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