China's National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) will take over data collection at the regional level from 2019, a government official said, replacing the current system in which the combined economic output of China's provinces has long exceeded national output measured by the NBS.
Li Xiaochao, deputy head of the NBS, said on Monday there had been significant improvements in the long-standing discrepancy between national and regional GDP data.
The government has stepped up inspections of potentially fraudulent data and is working toward unifying the accounting systems used by national and local authorities.
"The problem of discrepancy between regional and national GDP data has significantly improved, but [the gap] is still large," Li said in an interview with China Information News that was published on the statistics bureau's website on Monday.
"This situation is not conducive to accurately understanding regional economic trends or scientifically implementing macroeconomic controls, and it impacts the credibility of government statistics," Li said.
The gap has been narrowing, but the discrepancy between provincial GDP and the national figure was still 2.76 trillion yuan (1 billion) last year, according to Reuters calculations. Several cases of falsified government data have been publicized over the last year.
Li said the NBS will work with regional statistics agencies to compile regional data, with national and regional data to be released together once the new system is in place.