Thursday, 25 March 2021

25th Sitting of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending

At the sitting held on 25 March 2021, the members of the Committee on Finance, State Budget and Control of Public Spending considered, in principle, the Bill amending the Law on the 2021 Census of Population, Households and Dwellings, submitted by the Government.

The Bill was presented by Snezana Lakcevic, Assistant Director of the Republic Statistical Office, who explained that the 2021 Law on Census of Population, Households and Dwellings defines that the census is conducted from 1 to 30 April 2021. However, the global crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has created a climate of uncertainty which makes it impossible to conduct a satisfactory and safe census in the planned timeframe. Namely, conducting the census in April 2021 requires implementing activities that entail direct contact, both of the employees of the Republic Statistical Office with the direct participants in the census, and direct contact of instructors and census takers with the citizens. The following activities have been identified as riskiest: selection of candidates for training, training of about 20,000 candidates for instructors, census takers and census taking, i.e. field data collection via interviews in April 2021.

In view of the abovementioned activities and deadlines for their realization, as well as the uncertain epidemiological situation and the danger of spreading the infectious disease during the census, after consultations with the competent health authorities, extensive analysis of different scenarios and risk assessment, it was concluded that the period 1 - 31 October 2021 would be better for field data collection than 1 - 30 April 2021, so the census i.e. the field work should be postponed for six months and additional activities should be undertaken for the conduct of the census in the new circumstances to reduce the risk of infecting the immediate census participants and the population.

Following the explanation, the Committee voted on the Bill and decided to propose that the National Assembly accept it in principle.

The sitting was chaired by the Committee Chairperson Dr Aleksandra Tomic, and attended by the following Committee members and deputy members: Zoran Tomic, Zoltan Pek, Svetlana Milijic, Dr Milorad Mijatovic, Velibor Milojicic, Marina Mirkovic, Sonja Vlahovic, Nikola Vojinovic, Ana Carapic, Dusko Tarbuk, Milenka Subic and Olivera Pesic.

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