A. Real Sector
1. Some progress has been made in easing access to source data and steps have been taken to improve serviceability. Legislative barriers to access by the Statistical Office of Estonia (SOE) to tax data from the Estonian National Tax Board have been removed. However, a number of issues regarding confidentiality need to be resolved before the SOE is granted full access to these data. As regards serviceability, the SOE published a note in mid-2001 explaining revisions to the historical national accounts series3. The SOE has published its National Accounts Sources and Methods.4 Also, it recently surveyed users requesting views on which methodology to use for rebasing the national accounts.
B. Fiscal Sector
2. Planned amendments to the State Budget Law include a revised coverage of general government to ensure consistency with the GFSM 2001 and ESA95. Some elements of the revised coverage—including the consolidation within general government of the most important extrabudgetary funds—are already being followed in the preparation of the monthly and annual general government budget reports. The revised coverage, to be introduced in 2003, has been agreed by the Ministry of Finance, the Bank of Estonia, and the SOE, and should lead to greater consistency between the government finance statistics and other macroeconomic statistics. This will also be facilitated by more regular sharing of fiscal data between the ministry and the central bank.
3. The consolidation procedure for compiling statistics on the general government finances has been revised in line with the GFSM 2001. Social security contributions paid by the government as an employer are now shown as part of general government revenue and expenditure, and data for previous years has been revised accordingly.
C. Financial Sector
4. The Bank of Estonia is working to improve the definitions and coverage of the monetary statistics. In accordance with international guidelines (MFSM 2000), it has changed the definitions of the monetary aggregates by excluding deposits of non-residents and the central government. Also, it has taken steps to facilitate inclusion of data on Other Depository Corporations in the monetary statistics. To this end, an amendment to the Central Bank Law has been drafted and is expected to be submitted to Parliament in 2002. There have been initial contacts with savings and loan associations aimed at eliciting voluntary reporting.
D. External Sector
5. Further steps are being taken to improve the balance of payments (BOP) statistics. In March 2002, the Bank of Estonia began to publish the first monthly estimates of key balance of payments indicators.5 The Bank of Estonia also expects to finalize by end-2002 preparations to compile quarterly BOP with EU member countries, a statistical requirement for EU membership, and non-EU countries. Under consideration for 2003 is the collection of data on financial account transactions on a gross basis. These data would facilitate assessment of the country’s external vulnerability. As regards serviceability, preliminary BOP data are now clearly distinguished from revised data.