Qeriqi: Citizens will benefit from the census, penalties prescribed by law for those who refuse to participate

Hazbije Ćerići
Source: Kosovo Online

The benefits of participating in the census will primarily be for citizens, Hazbije Qeriqi from the Agency of Statistics says for Kosovo Online, explaining that every enumerator is obligated to visit a household up to three times if necessary to conduct the census. For those who refuse to participate, penalties are regulated by law and range from 30 to 2,000 euros.

Qeriqi stated that citizens had been informed about the census through brochures, social media, and all-language media campaigns, and enumerators had been hired from all municipalities.

"We made sure to hire enumerators from all municipalities and regions. We made sure that the enumerators were from the regions where these people lived. All residents of Kosovo will be able to respond in their language, and enumerators will be from their communities. So, if a family is part of the Serbian community, the enumerator will be a Serbian person who will visit and conduct an interview with them," Qeriqi stated.

For those who refuse to be enumerated, penalties are prescribed by law, Qeriqi claims, explaining that the Agency of Statistics does not deal with punishments.

"First and foremost, the enumerator's duty is to visit each household three times to deliver letters, leaflets, and brochures and to inform them that the census is taking place from April 5 to May 17. Penalties are regulated by law for those who refuse to participate in the census. But such cases are beyond our reach in such situations," she said.

Penalties for individuals range from 30 to 2,000 euros.

"But all of this is regulated by law. We certainly wouldn't want to go through that because we hope that everyone will respond to our enumerators. So, if an enumerator does not find anyone in a household three times, they will then report to their supervisor, who will later go to the commission in the municipality to try to obtain information about these people. Whereas penalties for those who strictly refuse to participate in the census are regulated by law. Penalties range from 30 to 2,000 euros for individuals, while they are higher for legal entities," she emphasized.

All individuals aged 16 and above can be interviewed, and if family members are not at home, one person can provide information about other household members, Qeriqi explained, adding that it takes about 15 minutes to complete the form.

"As for the questions, there are over 100 of them. So, there are many questions. One set of questions relates to buildings and facilities. Another set pertains to the household itself. We have questions for individuals and for the diaspora. There are also questions about damages incurred during the war. In short, the first three sets relate to buildings, the household, and the number of people living in the household. So, in general, we have about 118 questions, but there are also sub-questions, so the entire census procedure contains about 500 questions. We tested it in the field and concluded that it takes about 15 minutes to complete the entire form," Qeriqi said.

She emphasized that there would be benefits for all citizens living in Kosovo from the census.

"Because according to the census data, all those who create policies and all investors will have better information about the situation on the ground. So, the benefits that come from participating in the census will primarily be felt by the citizens themselves. These benefits will be much better felt by the citizens than by anyone else," Qeriqi concluded.