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Population Commission To Tinubu: We Require Additional N225.2bn To Conduct National Census

Poverty and unemployment are driving more people into urban centres, the President observed.

The National Population Commission (NPC) has approached President Bola Tinubu for an additional N225.2 billion for it to conduct a hitch-free national population and housing census in the country.

NPC Chairman, Nasir Isa Kwarra, who tabled the request on Thursday while briefing the President about the activities of the Commission at the State House, Abuja, requested the President’s approval for an additional N225.2 billion to cover training and fieldwork allowances, retraining of trainers, and the conduct of a second-class Trial Census.

According to a release issued by the Special Adviser to the President on Special Duties, Communications and Strategy, Mr Dele Alake, President  Tinubu, while receiving the NPC team noted that population in the urban centres across the country have continued to escalate as a result of the extreme poverty and unemployment in the rural areas.

He also pledged his unwavering support for the Commission in its task to conduct an accurate census exercise.

The President, who will personally come up with new dates for the national population and housing census that was postponed last April emphasized the need for the commission to be prudent in its assignment and work towards producing census data that would be credible and reliable.

President Buhari also expressed concern over the delay in conducting another enumeration in the country since the last exercise done in 2006.

He urged the NPC to view this delay as an opportunity to cash in on the advantages of the current electronic and digital age.

According to the President:  “It is disappointing that up until now we have not been able to conduct another enumeration of our people. I hope that this delay will be converted to a great opportunity in this electronic and digital age.

“The challenge is yours and I hope that during the demarcation you did, you would have noticed the migration of people to urban centers because of the extreme poverty and unemployment.

“Digitalizing the process will make your job easier and I don’t see why we don’t, by now, have a reliable database in Nigeria to identify ourselves and ascertain our numbers for planning purposes and  in time of disaster.

“I have listened to you and we will support you. Accuracy and integrity of your data is very important to Nigerians and for our national economic development programmes.

“We will support you but you have to be prudent and be determined to make a name for yourself. Goodluck”.

Earlier in his speech, the NPC Chairman noted that the Commission was on the verge of conducting the final training for the Census before they were caught up with the transition programme for a new government and funding challenges, necessitating the postponement of the exercise by the immediate-past President.

He briefed the President on the Implementation Status of the 2023 Population and Housing Census, requesting the issuance of a proclamation for a new Census date later this year or early next year.

Kwarra also highlighted the funding challenges faced by the Commission, saying they were waiting on the President to support NPC and give the go-ahead for the conduct of the census.

He said the commission had demarcated the entire country, stating that only one or the two places were left and that this would be done soon.

Kwarra said the commission had also trained 60,000 instructors that would further train enumerators and supervisors.

In a paper titled “Implementation Status of the 2023 Population and Housing Census”, the NPC requested the release of the allocated N31 billion capital allocation, in the 2023 budget, for preparatory activities.

The commission put the total cost of the Census, after a methodology review, at N546.72 billion.

President Tinubu was also asked to approve and convene a stakeholders meeting with the organized private sector and foreign partners to galvanise funds for the Census.

Kwarra informed the President that Nigeria has developed a database that can be useful in national planning, infrastructure development, and revenue generation for the government.

“NPC having completed Mapping in March 2022, tested the market with the geospatial data by making it available to researchers at a ‘test price’ where it generated over N50 million through REMITA.

“To this end, with a full integrated spatial and statistical data, government geospatial policy and coordination, NPC can generate up to 14 billion dollars and further save a lot of resources for the nation through automation of economic planning by 2028”, he said.

Speaking to newsmen after the meeting, Kwarra disclosed that President Tinubu would inform the Commission on new dates for conduct of the national population and housing census, after studying the report presented to him.

He said: “We briefed him fully on the level of our preparedness, the outcomes that we envisage and I’ll like to say that Mr President has graciously approved to support the Commission in the conduct of census and our preparatory activities, though we’re not stuck at all, but he has given us the courage and the impetus to upscale our preparation. 

“So we’ll continue our preparations and we’ll hear from him eventually, the date that the census will take place because we’ve made a submission to him that he will study before getting back to us. But as for the assurance of support, he has given that to us and we thank him immensely for this for also realizing the importance of data for the purpose of national planning and development”.

Deji Elumoye in Abuja 

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