THIS year’s census structural listing operation conducted by the National Statistical Services (NSO) is a significant programme that involves compiling a comprehensive listing of all census units nationwide.
It precedes the main enumeration.
Two months ago, I was enlisted in one of the four teams tasked to cover Vanimo Urban local level government in West Sepik.
The three-day training conducted was an “armchair ride” for most listers.
However, the actual listing operation produced mixed results on a daily basis.
The listers had to “sail through rough seas” to obtain vital household data amidst the Covid-19 situation.
We encountered aberrant responses from critics who belittled the programme, citing lack of service delivery despite the continuous data collection.
Despite that, we were committed to continue because of the importance of our job.
But there were substantiated claims of malpractice by certain incompetent officers within the NSO.
Our training allowances were paid two weeks later, which was totally unfair.
Most listers who were unemployed were forced to endure this predicament.
We humbly took on the task of listing without protesting.
This subsequently led to a week’s suspension of the programme by the provincial census coordinator who felt we should not be treated like that.
Our training allowances should have been paid within the first training week.
The trainers also faced the same issue. There were issues regarding accommodation and lodging payments with service providers as well.
Our final census unit workload allowances are yet to be paid.
This is disappointing as the listing operation phased off two months ago. Now the programme has shifted into the enumeration phase.
Listers need to be paid their census unit listing allowances before recruiting enumerators.
If the issues facing the 13 Vanimo listers is not addressed, I doubt the enumeration programme would be successful.
The enumeration programme will see hundreds of people engaged and I don’t know how that will work if allowances aren’t paid.
I believe certain officers in the NSO are failing to do their job.
These irregularities should be thoroughly investigated by appropriate authorities and addressed immediately.
The national census is a once-in-a-decade programme that needs to be conducted thoroughly.
Please pay us our outstanding listing allowances as soon as possible.
Vanimo Urban LLG