President Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu on Thursday in Abuja expressed his unwavering support for the National Population Commission (NPC) to conduct an accurate Population and Housing Census in the country.
He, however, emphasized the need for the commission to be prudent in their assignment and work towards producing census data that would be credible and reliable.
Speaking at the State House in Abuja after receiving a briefing from NPC Chairman, Nasir Isa Kwarra, the President 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.
”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, ” the President said.
In his remarks, 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.
Kwarra also 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.
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.