KATHMANDU, May 21: Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) is preparing to conduct a Household Budget Survey (HBS) within a year after central bank officials proposed conducting the survey every five years. Previously, the central bank used to conduct the survey only every 10 years.
“Although the formal decision is yet to come, we are positive about conducting the HBS every five years from now onwards,” Deputy-Governor Maha Prasad Adhikari said. The first HBS was conducted during 1973-1975 and the fourth one in 2005-2006.
NRB officials have pointed out the need to conduct the survey more frequently in view of rapid changes in consumption patterns and also in the economy.
“Developments that used to take 10 years before happen today in less than five years,” said a senior NRB official, stressing the need of HBS every five years. “People´s lifestyle and consumption patterns have changed massively. Five-year-old data might not be that relevant in the present context,” the official said adding that in most countries such surveys are conducted every five years.
The total cost of the survey is yet to be calculated. “The cost depends upon the modality of the survey and we haven´t finalized that,” the official said.
The survey takes into account the level and sources of income, expenditure patterns of households and other things. The chief objective of HBS is to revise weighting factors for the Consumer Price Index (CPI) and to prepare a representative CPI that captures the overall price situation of the country.
Meanwhile, NRB officials have claimed that the regular price report prepared by the central bank has become more effective and precise following introduction of a computerized system at local information centers and hiring of local teachers for data collection.
The central bank had started hiring local teachers for data collection in place of NRB employees some months back, for preparing the Regular Price Report.
NRB publishes the report on weekly basis after collecting the price of a commodity in three different places for each centre. The data is compiled in central bank software and data collectors are provided computer and internet access at the 30 centers of the country.
“It used to take 2-3 months for us to publish the report after collecting the data manually. Now we are able to do the same task in less than 45 days,” the official said.