Saudi census authority warns of fines for failure to answer questions

Providing required information is mandatory and can be done online, official says

A general view of Saudi Arabia's capital, Riyadh. The kingdom is conducting its fifth census after a gap of more than 10 years since the last population count. Reuters
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Citizens and residents of Saudi Arabia who do not provide correct information during the census could be fined, the kingdom’s General Authority for Statistics said.

Article 4 of the royal decree under which the population survey is being conducted obliges people to participate and to correctly answer questions from census officials, authority spokesman Mohammed Al Dakhini said.

However, the fines cannot be imposed by field workers, Mr Al Dakhini said in comments reported by the official Saudi Press Agency.

This authority rests with area supervisors, who must first speak to the person in question to give them a warning and a chance to comply, he said.

More than 30,000 field workers were sent out to conduct the kingdom's fifth census, which began on May 10 after a delay caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The previous census in 2010 recorded the kingdom's population at 27,136,977 people, while a preliminary estimate for 2020 put it at more than 35,000,000.

Mr Al Dakhin praised the general level of awareness and co-operation shown so far and said the census results would provide a reliable database for the development of public services such as education and health care.

Citizens and residents have the option of providing their information online instead of directly to census takers, he said.

Census forms can be filled in electronically by mobile phones or computers until May 25 by visiting the Saudi Census 2022 website.

Information and assistance are available through the authority’s social media channels as well as the toll-free number 920020081, he said.

Updated: May 21, 2022, 1:20 PM