Statistical work started from an early stage in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 1349 H., corresponding to 1930, to subsequently become organized and based on the General Statistics System that was issued pursuant to Royal Decree No. 23 on 7/12/1379 H., corresponding to 1/6/1960. Hence, the General Statistics System succeeded in organizing the Saudi Statistics & Information Sector through strengthening the relationship between the Central Department of Statistics & Information, which is a central statistical authority, and other entities so as to reinforce statistical work, as well as strengthen its impact on planning, and raise statistical awareness. It is noteworthy to mention that statistical information constitute the results of the Saudi Statistics & Information Sector which were confirmed by the System by establishing a department in each ministry or government entity to collect relevant statistics, develop practical methodologies in agreement with and under the supervision of the Director-General of the Central Department of Statistics & Information, and adopt all technical and statistical instructions. Hence, such department shall also provide the Central Department of Statistics & Information with statisticts that are collected on a monthly, quarterly, bi-annual or annual basis. Since 1426 H., statistical work has witnessed a remarkable development at the organizational level through the issuance and adoption of a number of decisions that support statistical work process and reinforce the role of the statistics sector in the Kindgom. These decisions include the following:
- The Council of Ministers Decision No. 284, dated 24/11/1426 H., to approve the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee with a view to ensure administrative organization of the results of the information, studies and research sector study by virtue of which the Central Department of Statistics & Information was appointed as an official authority responsible of the Kingdom’s statistics and information.
- The Council of Ministers Decision No. 235, dated 16/7/1428 H., issued to approve the recommendations of the Ministerial Committee with a view to ensure administrative organization, set forth in its 66th minutes to regulate the Central Department of Statistics & Information relationships with His Excellency the Minister of Economy and Planning.
- The Royal Circular No. 12486/B, dated 25/3/1430H., on official statistics resulting from the provision of services, issued pursuant to the directives of relevant government entities to provide the Central Department of Statistics & Information with the required statistical information and data in a timely manner.
- The directives of the government entities’ information centers and statistical departments to ensure electronic connectivity between them and the Central Department of Statistics & Information in order to facilitate the flow of statistical information and data in a comprehensive manner.
- The Royal Order No. 64283, dated 26/12/1436 H., to transform the the Central Department of Statistics & Information into a public authority called the General Authority for Statistics that enjoys a legal personality, and financial and administrative independence.
- The Council of Ministers Decision No. 11, dated 13/1/1437 H., to approve the regulation of the General Authority for Statistics which was assigned to ensure the technical supervision and organization of the Saudi Statistics & Information Sector, as well as create a comprehensive system of national statistical databases through the development of a central information center at the national level that can be automatically associated with all public entities, as well as participation in the development of all information and statistical work systems to create a comprehensive, accurate and unified statistical system.
- The inclusion of Article 8 of the provisions of the regulation of the General Authority for Statistics, which confirms that the Board of Directors, consisting of representatives from 14 government entities, as well as a representative from the Saudi Chambers of Commerce and Industry and two experts in the statistics field, is responsible of managing and conducting the General Authority for Statistics’ affairs. This also confirms the formation of a Coodinating Committee that consists of a number of government entities and is headed by the Chairman of the General Authority for Statistics in order to reinforce the active participation in the coordination of the government entities’ statistics-related activities. The members of the present Committee shall have extensive years of experience in the same field.
It is noted that these decisions that regulates the statistical work are intended to confirm that the statistical information and data sector is considered one of the Kingdom’s productive sectors that organize the production process of statistical data, information, studies, research and related services. Hence, the statistics and information sector consists of the General Authority for Statistics, along with a system of multiple statistical centers and units that were established within the administrative structures of government entities and some of the private sector institutions.