Census funds are not projected in the draft budget for next year. Neither in the item of the State Statistical Office (SSO), nor at the State Election Commission (SEC), which, according to some speculations, could carry out the census. The 2015 draft budget for SSO projects just over three million euros, which is insufficient to conduct a census, unlike the one in 2011, when almost 12.5 million euros were projected.
Next year’s draft budget for the SEC projects 1,062,000 euros, of which, 650,000 euros are projected for election activities. The fact that the SEC has budgetary funds for elections in 2015, even though elections are not scheduled is suspicious.
According to information of Dnevnik, the questionnaire form that the SEC will use to purge the electoral list, which would be used for field checks, is in many ways reminds of group of questions that are common for census.
Experts warn that the consequences of not implementing the census can be extensive: incorrect policy of regional development, developing inappropriate educational policies, lack of information on the state migration and economic and infrastructure development, irrelevant electoral roll and many others.
Doncho Gerasimovski, former director of the SSO and demographer, says that census implementation requires thorough preparation and Census Act passed at least one year prior to it, provided no territorial divisions are made. According to him, SEC cannot conduct a census because it is a duty of SSO.
He says that the census is not only statistical operation, but a basis of all the planning in a country and, without it, the validity of all the data that are available is disputable. According to him, the consequences of failing to implement a census can be catastrophic.
– Imagine that we don’t have actual data of how many residents are in the municipalities after the division of Municipality of Centar from Chair and Municipality of Aerodrom from Kisela Voda. Even the age limit, educational structure, social structure, and gross domestic product are not known – says Gerasimovski.
Gerasimovski adds that it is inconceivable to conduct a census, without leaving room in the questionnaire for ethnicity, or to make a statistic for citizens who are not in Macedonia over a year.