The Council of Ministers gave the go-ahead Friday for the first complete census of the country's industrial sector.
A sub-decree needed to be passed before the National Institute of Statistics (NIS) could begin preparations for the census, which will be conducted in 2011.
NIS Director General San Sy Than said smaller surveys had been done in the past, but that this would be the first complete census the country had attempted.
It would give not only the number of factories and enterprises in Cambodia by province and sector, but also the number of workers, gross output, real estate holdings and even productivity across different firms and sectors.
"It is very important," he said. "The private sector really needs this data to invest."
According to the sub-decree, census data will be used as a baseline for preparing policies, strategies and action plans for Cambodia's economic, social, and human development.
The NIS plans to test census procedures in 2010 before starting the census on March 1, 2011, but San Sy Than did not know when data would be available. "We cannot estimate how long it will take, but [it] should not take so long."
Cambodia began conducting annual industrial surveys in 1993 but discontinued them in 2004 because of a lack of funding. They were started again in February with assistance from the Japan International Cooperation Agency.
The Nationwide Establishment Listing of Cambodia 2009 showed there were around 375,000 enterprises across the country.