Two weeks before the beginning of the national census, scheduled for May 21, the country’s Statistics Office and its Interior Ministry are exchanging words over flaws in preparation for the census, the SITA newswire reported.
The head of the statistics office, Ľudmila Benkovičová, stated on May 5 that unprofessional information and dramatic statements pose a threat to the census and that they disparage the work of thousands of the office's employees. She warned that this may result in people ignoring the census, SITA wrote.
She was reacting to Interior Minister Daniel Lipšic’s statements on May 4 that the Statistics Office had not handled preparations for the population census well.
"We warned the Statistics Office already last year that its preparations for the census were unsatisfactory, that the census districts had been created in an odd way, that there was no methodology and that the groundwork was wrong and outdated," Lipšic told SITA, adding that the statistics office did not take his ministry’s advice. However, he also stated that he believes Slovakia’s municipalities will do all they can to make sure that the census results are as precise as possible, adding that this will not be to the credit of the Statistics Office but rather to the hard work of the municipalities.
"It's about time to see even high public officials held accountable for serious mistakes in this country," Lipšic stated on May 4, as quoted by the TASR newswire, but without commenting on whether he would seek to dismiss Benkovičová.
The Sme daily earlier this week reported that the census results might be distorted as the Statistics Office provided municipalities with maps, as background materials for establishing individual counting areas, which contained a number of inaccuracies. Benkovičová said she views the problem as insufficient revision of urban units which she blamed on the interior ministry and that the ministry had refused to provide results of the revision of the municipal unit borders to her office.
Source: SITA, TASR
Compiled by Zuzana Vilikovská from press reports
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5. May 2011 at 14:00