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August 10, 2022

Census scandal: CNP disclosure compulsory after all

Statistics Institute spokesperson sacked.

By    Daniela Baragan

Only a couple of days after announcing that the disclosure of the personal numeric number (CNP) was not compulsory in the census, the representatives of the National Statistical Institute (INS) have changed their mind. They now say the CNP is compulsory and people refusing to give it will be fined. The clarification came from the President of INS, Vergiliu Voineagu (photo) who, said at a press conference yesterday that the INS spokesman Vladimir Alexan­drescu had been dismissed over his statements in the matter last weekend. ‘After noting that not just any census taker is entitled to enforce sanctions and that especially appointed people would identify the violation and establish the amount of the fine, the spokesman went a bit further and, being in a rush and possibly not well enough prepared, said that the non-disclosure of CNPs would not attract any sanction’, Voineagu is quoted by Mediafax as saying.

According to the INS head, anyone who, from now on, refuses to declare their CNP in the census will be fined under the law. As for those situations where people chose not to disclose their CNP following the assurance given by the ex-spokesman of INS that it was not compulsory, Vergiuliu Voineagu said census takers will revisit them to collect the information. If they still refuse, they will be fined.

Only a day prior to the press conference, the Ministry of Administration and Interior (MAI) was saying that the gathering of CNPs was mandatory under the law. According to Law 170/2011, ‘individuals (…) must disclose, to the best of their knowledge, to census takers the data and information stipulate din the census programme’, and ‘the failure to comply with provisions at paragraph (1) shall be liable under the law’. According to MAI, all information becomes anonymous later on, in the data processing phase, people’s first names and last names are not added to the data base and census takers are bound by the confidentiality clause.

Atanasoaie: Bucharest reports lowest census progress rate

Bucharest Prefect Mihai Atanasoaie called upon the people of the capital to cooperate with census takers and give all the information requested. He stressed out that all data collected would be strictly used for official purposes. ‘It is not the action of anyone in particular, it is an action of the state, a European one. Based on the results, the state will design its social and economic policies,’ said Atanasoaie.

The prefect of Bucharest said, up to that point, the capital had made the smallest progress with the census – just 35 per cent of all households. ‘Of course, this figure is valid for Monday and I am convinced that today (Wednesday – our note), it will be better’, the official added. The top counties with poorest census results, after Bucharest, are: Ilfov – 40.59 per cent, Constanta – 41 per cent and Timis – 44.59 per cent. On the other hand, Valcea is the champion county with 52 per cent polled households by Monday, followed by Covasna, Bihor and Bistrita.

Dolj Prefect Nicolae Giugea also asked the citizens to declare their personal numeric code (CNP) in the census, saying that ‘CNP is not a person’s genetic heritage, it is actually given by the state so the state is free to use it’. The Government representative also said that those who had launched ‘rumours’ in that respect are people who ‘had not done anything for society and whose only concern is how to stir up things’.

Also yesterday, the head of the Bistrita-Nasaud County Statistical Department, Mircea Chira, said he was unhappy with the fact that some of the enumerators in his county had decided not to ask people to give their CNPs and that they would have to revisit those households and get the CNPs as well. ‘Unfortunately, there have also been census takers who indulged in the situation and decided not to ask for CNPs when the misleading news (that the CNP was not mandatory – our note) had been run. I am outraged because I was personally engaged in the training of census operators in Bistrita and anyone who was in doubt should have called me up on the phone’, Chira said.

Approximately a half of the over 300,000 Constanta people who have been polled in the national census so far would not disclose their CNP. The announcement came from the head of the Consanta Statistical Department, Enache Busu, yesterday. The official also said latest reports indicated that 41.52 per cent of the households of Constanta County and just 36 per cent of households in Constanta City had received the visit of a census enumerator already. ‘That also happened because two units in Constanta City started with a delay of one day because many census takers withdrew on the very first day of the process and it took a while before the lists could be completed’, explained the director of DSJ Constanta. In the context, he also noted that the census takers who would drop out ‘just like that, without a special reason’, would receive a fine of up to RON 4,500.

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