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PM: Data vital

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By MALUM NALU
NO one knows the exact population of Papua New Guinea today because no national census had been conducted since 2000, it has been revealed.
Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told the first sitting of Parliament yesterday that an accurate population data was important for public policy planning and monitoring.
“We must aim to keep our economic growth above our population growth.
“We can only do this by having access to reliable data so that we can monitor these important indicators as we move forward.”
A national census is supposed to be conducted every 10 years.
But the one scheduled for 2010 was never held.
Unofficial estimates of the current total population have been put at between eight and 10 million.
It is understood that the absence of this vital information had led to discrepancies in the national roll which created a lot of problems during the 2017 general election.
The National Identification Project (NID) in the past government was supposed to have provided this information during preparations for the elections.
Last week, new National Planning and Implementation Minister Richard Maru queried how the K250 million allocated for the NID project had been spent in the past five years, given that only 300,000 ID cards were issued prior to the start of the elections.

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