THE national population and housing census is conducted after every 10 years.
It is mandatory for the National Statistical Office (NSO), under the Statistical Services Act 1981, to compile and disseminate timely and reliable statistics.
These statistics, will in turn, enable the Government and relevant stakeholders or other important agencies to formulate policies and decisions that are well-informed and concrete.
The Government, through the Department of National Planning and Monitoring, should immediately rollout the national census 2021 as we are fast approaching July 12, which is the deadline for the main enumeration exercises.
The last census in 2011 was deemed as a failed one despite the NSO being allocated with a sufficient funding of K150 million.
This year, the NSO has already received K70 million from the Government, which is less than in 2011 due to revenue constraints and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
It is seen that this very important exercise will be deferred to next year after next year’s national general elections because the NSO is still facing a deficit in the budget to fully finance the exercise.
However, this deferral will cause an inconvenience to the coming common roll update in the country, including inflation and deflation of eligible voters and will consequently lead to elections-related problems just as the 2012 and 2017 national general elections.
The Marape Government needs to address this issue immediately before next year’s elections as it will provide a baseline and pave the way for other agencies such as Electoral Commission for the common roll update and other data surveys such as the demographic and health survey in the country.
This will then provide a good insight into the population and demographic picture of the country as well as information on employment, education, literacy, housing, and other areas.
All the statistics we have at the moment are only estimates and unreliable.
David Maima Iarume